Give Thanks

Maya Sherne, Online Editor

A few weeks ago, my grandmother passed away after spending years suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, a debilitating neurological disease that took the last years of her life and the last memories I had with her.  My family and I were overwhelmed and humbled by our old friends, new friends, and friends we had never met before, who came to our house in a time of need to share their love, memories, and support.  It was a great demonstration of the power and influence of a community.

The holiday season is generally a time of great giving.  This week, my family, hoping to give back to our community, tried to volunteer at the Contra Costa County Food Bank.  To our surprise, we were turned away because the food bank had received too many volunteers.  Although I was inspired by the motivating spirit of the holiday season to give and share, I was also frustrated.

It troubled me that people only remember the importance of helping others during this time of year.  The homeless are not only hungry on Thanksgiving, and they do not only need essential resources during the Christmas season.  In fact, the majority of soup kitchens and homeless shelters have these two days covered, the real help is needed during the other 363 days of the year.  The problems people face during the year do not just vanish once the Christmas lights come down and the new year begins; volunteer service is needed year round, not just during the holiday season.

Thanksgiving is typically a time to appreciate all the things in your life that you are thankful for; but for many people, Thanksgiving serves as reminder for all the things they don’t have.  Many people don’t have a roof over their head, the privilege of stable income, or the reassurance that their will be food on the table every night.  This year, while you are sharing your list, take the time to think about a life where you don’t have those things, because for many people, that is their reality.  Perhaps if we remember the things we are thankful for a little more, the overwhelming spirit of giving, sharing, and love during the holiday season could carry on throughout the whole year.

Happy Thanksgiving, I hope you have a lot to be thankful for.