Legendary country singer and songwriter Willie Nelson said, “When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.”
As we approach Thanksgiving, many people focus on travel, food, and football. Others think about – with impending doom I might add – Black Friday and the “crazy holiday season.” Others think about family gatherings – including some in our families who we see once a year and give their bold opinions about religion and politics. Some family members may annoy us and we may annoy them…but we’re family.
One thing that can be missed in the hustle and bustle of wrapping things up at work in preparation for the long weekend and amongst our other planning is to actually slow down enough to give thanks. After all, the point of the holiday is to give thanks for all that we have. We are not the early colonists who survived the voyage on the Mayflower back in 1621, and we may not be celebrating outside with the Wampanoag tribe, but we have a lot to be thankful for…even if we don’t always feel like we do. (As a side note, I read that the first American Thanksgiving celebration lasted for three days. Counting Thanksgiving leftovers, which in my opinion are awesome, our celebration – at least the food – is something that we still celebrate for three days).
We of course can be thankful for our families, our health, our careers, our provisions, our homes, our children, and the Manchester Ink Link, (let’s see who actually reads this…lol). With all that we can be thankful for, let us not forget that there are people who struggle this time of year. Whether the struggles are financial or whether they be mental health struggles, addiction struggles, homelessness, estrangement from family, loneliness, loss, and depression, to name a few, let us remember that not everyone is in the same place and that the holidays can be a very dark time for some.
It’s hard to tell people who are experiencing very real hardships to “count your blessings,” especially if we have never experienced the same thing that they are experiencing. So what can we do to really help and not just give “lip service.” There are several things that we can do, so we are not totally helpless to help. (And no, one of them is not to wait for the government to help…we as individuals should be helping). I have listed a few things below. I’m sure that there are many more available opportunities, so if you know about something then help that way! (This list is also for those who may need food for Thanksgiving or a meal on the holiday).
- Volunteer at local organizations or food banks. There are many opportunities to do things such as volunteering at a meal on Thanksgiving or helping to hand out Thanksgiving dinners to area residents. Harbor Care in Nashua hosted a free Thanksgiving meal on November 21. The New Hampshire Food Bank hands out thousands of ready-to-prepare meals in our state and could use help. Hope for NH Recovery is hosting a Thanksgiving breakfast and The Twelve, (aka 1269 Cafe), is hosting a Thanksgiving meal during their regular lunchtime.
- Donate. All of the organizations mentioned above, as well as others including NH Catholic Charities and Granite United Way and local faith-based organizations and churches could use donations to help those in need.
- Hand out coffee and food to the unhoused on Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving Day, walk around our city with some family and friends and hand out warm drinks and food to our unhoused neighbors. Human interaction may be what they need, after all, we do not know why they are living on our streets.
Maya Angelou said “Be certain that you do not die without having done something wonderful for humanity.” Maybe helping people around the Holidays – or at any time – will be the “something wonderful” that you do.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!
As always, feel free to email me at email@example.com.