The Season of Giving and Being Thankful
It’s officially the holiday season! Thanksgiving is the welcome reception dinner to the festivities that are ahead, and it allows us to take a moment to reflect on what matters most.
To kick off the holiday season, we pulled together these heartwarming stories to be inspired by and charities that are available for us to be a part of. We all have the chance to make a difference:
Stories Inspiring Holiday Cheer
This November, 13-year-old Abraham Olagbegi is making sure the homeless of Jackson, Mississippi will be fed. And not just for November. He is using his Make-A-Wish money to feed the homeless every month for a whole year! Read the full story of how this young man who recovered from a rare blood disorder used his personal wish to help others.
Jamal Hinton and Wanda Dench’s story first made headlines in 2016 with Dench’s accidental text. Dench sent a message to Hinton believing he was her grandson, only to discover she texted the wrong number. True to grandmotherly nature, however, Dench’s invitation stood even after the mistake was discovered, and they are getting ready to celebrate their 6th Thanksgiving together.
Neal Shytles, a homeless man from Virginia, inspired people across the country and even around the world to help the homeless in their communities. Shytles placed an online ad asking for a family or couple to spend Thanksgiving with, later explaining: “Every day of the year is pretty much lonely for me, but Thanksgiving, Christmas is the worst time to be alone.”
Not only did he receive an invitation to share Thanksgiving with someone, but he also stirred many to volunteer, send cards, and he even inspired one woman to take a job to help the homeless in her community. Neal responded to the overwhelming response:
“I think people really want to give,’ he said, overwhelmed, trying to explain the response, ‘and they don’t know how to give. They’re waiting for someone to ask.“
Spreading Holiday Cheer In Our Communities
There are some great volunteer opportunities available for us to get involved in our own communities this Thanksgiving:
Meals on Wheels provides nutritious meals and company to our seniors this holiday season. The program varies by community, but information about the program closest to you can be found on their website.
Looking for a way to be hands on? Salvation Army provides volunteer opportunities to help serve the homeless hot meals on Thanksgiving day. Feeding America also provides great opportunities to serve. Homefront America helps to support military families through their Giving Thanks to Heroes program.
Invite others to your Thanksgiving dinner! Volunteering your own home can go a long way for those who don’t have families that live close. Or, for some, finances might be too tight to support a full Thanksgiving dinner. Open your door to others for a day filled with food, company and happy memories.
Share a cause or story that you resonated with and pass along the gift of giving. Have a Happy Thanksgiving from our team to yours!