In 2009, being thankful for what I have, a close and loving family, great friends, food on the table, a warm place to lay my head and a job, is difficult since so many people in the United States cannot give thanks for the same things. It has been disheartening to watch the unemployment rate rise, to watch many lose their homes to foreclosures, and to see my fellow Americans struggle for a necessity as simple as food. And yet, I still give thanks.
I give thanks for my family who also cares about people in need as much as I do. I care for my sister who finds the time to make baby blankets. She makes them at home with her daughter and then she hands them out on the maternity ward where she works. Comforting new mothers with a simple loving gesture that will keep their new infant warm at night.
My gratitude pours out for my brother who has opened his kitchen cabinet and sent his children to school with canned peas, instant potatoes and tuna fish for donations to the local food bank. They donate what little they have to others who have less. He is teaching his children to be compassionate. He is teaching them to share and care for others in need and I am thankful.
I am thankful for my daughter who shops each year for a holiday gift for an unnamed little boy and a little girl. She takes the time to choose a gift wisely. Remembering what her heart desired when she was only seven and couldn’t wait to see what Santa would place under the tree. She buys those gifts and I drive her to the local charity to drop them off. On Christmas morning, I reflect for a moment, praying that our small deed has put a smile on a deserving child’s face.
I am thankful in 2009 for all the other generous people, all the people I have never met and may never meet, who share as I do. I am thankful that there are people in this world who make small gestures that offer a lot of hope to those in need. I am thankful for these people because I know that what seems like a small offering from them means something much larger to those who receive their gifts. I give thanks for these people who continue to offer hope to those who have little. Who continue to have faith in a world where suffering shatters that faith. I am thankful that these same people who give have passed this value of generosity on to their children. I am thankful because I know that our next generation will also help those in need and I am glad because I have helped to instill a tradition that will continue long after I am gone. In 2009, I am thankful that I have given of myself and I urge you to do the same.
If you would like more information about making and donating baby blankets please visit Project Linus.
Local food banks can be found in your area by searching by zip code online at Feeding America.
Toy donations can be made by dropping your gift off at the local Marine Headquarters or State Police Barracks during their annual Toys for Tots drive. For more information visit Toys for Tots online.