Well, friends, we have made it. We are right in the thick of the upcoming holiday season, as we have turned the calendar over to November. Before we know it Thanksgiving will be here; believe it or not, it’s this Thursday! High school football playoffs are well under way and we are over halfway through the college and professional seasons. Basketball and hockey seasons are hitting their full stride.
And as we come off the sugar high of Halloween, I can get ready for my favorite of all holidays, Thanksgiving. My appreciation for the holiday has only grown over the years. Granted, I have really grown to appreciate the taste of a well-made pecan pie and a perfectly roasted turkey. But more than that, spending Thanksgiving weekend with family has been a real blessing as I have grown older.
The holiday has also helped me appreciate the traditions I once held. I remember my father would take my younger brother and myself to Waffle House for Thanksgiving breakfast to keep us out of our mother’s hair as she would put the finishing touches on the big meal of the day. For a few years, the day after Thanksgiving usually meant going golfing with Dad for his last round of the year and putting up Christmas lights.
For one month, even the world of social media seems to get along. Even after the divisiveness of another bitter election season, my heart is warmed to see scores of people treat November as a month of gratitude as each day they reflect and share what they are thankful for. Many of these stories are real tearjerkers, as we see people who have done everything to beat cancer to earn a college degree. All along the way, these folks are recognizing it’s other people who helped make that journey possible.
Working in the non-profit sector at a faith-based charity, I am beyond blessed to see thankfulness day in and day out. When I am out and about explaining the work I am a part of, I often hear comments that are very nice and yes, even flattering. Things such as, “Wow, that is truly amazing work” or, “Thanks for what you do” are often what I hear.
And even though those are nice things to hear, I have to explain that it is people who make our work possible. We could not do what we do if it were not for the generous people who live in our communities. Our local business community that goes above and beyond to support our efforts and our friends and neighbors who come alongside of us to help us.
If there is one aspect that makes our community a great place to live, it’s our collective generosity and it’s the people and the agencies that strive to be the best stewards of the resources that they have. Each and every day, the hungry are being fed, the homeless are provided shelter, the fearful have a safe place to go, because we care. And not only do we care enough to recognize the problems exist, we care enough to support those people on the front lines who are helping those in need.
Over the next month, many non-profits are going to be participating in their own #givingtuesday campaign. Giving Tuesday was established to counter the commercialization of Black Friday and Cyber Monday by giving folks an opportunity to give on a special day during the Holiday Season. This year, #givingtuesday is on Nov. 28. I would encourage you and our entire community to take that day and think about all the great groups that are working hard to make our communities not just places to play and work, but really places to live. Give, volunteer, make a difference.
There are so many groups that enrich our community’s quality of life. And those groups depend on generosity, your generosity. Whether it is your time, your talents or your treasure, there is a place for you right now for you to help make our communities stronger places to live and #givingtuesday might just be the first step you can take to be a part of something big.
William “Bill” Lutz is executive director of The New Path Inc. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.