When you are unbuckling your pants because you ate too much this Thanksgiving, think about all those who are struggling to put a simple meal on the table.
This past week I had the privilege of being able to serve my local community by packing up boxes for Thanksgiving. These boxes were full of canned goods and nonperishable items that were to be delivered to families in need. The items included canned goods such as vegetables, fruit, cranberry sauce, turkey gravy, tomato sauce and boxed items such as instant potatoes, pasta, and stuffing mix along with a turkey. Imagine if this is all you had to serve to your family this thanksgiving? You could only serve canned goods instead of homemade dishes with fresh ingredients. Imagine if you had to explain to your children why this is all you could provide for them? I can't even begin to imagine how hard that must be.
People who are struggling to make ends meet must rely on the donations of others this Thanksgiving. Some of the items we were packing in these boxes were in my opinion not enough to feed a family. One small side serving size of pasta is supposed to feed an entire family? One box of Mac and cheese is what one family will have for pasta this Thanksgiving while others complain about not liking their family's homemade mac and cheese. There are people who would die to have a homemade meal this thanksgiving but they do not have the resources to do so.
This was a truly eye-opening experience for me. For some families, this box was all they would have for food this Thanksgiving. When I was filling the boxes I said to myself, "Is this all one family will get this Thanksgiving?" I think about all the food my family makes for Thanksgiving and I wish I could share it with all those families who are struggling. This experience really made me think about how lucky I am to not have to worry about where my next meal is going to come from.
So how can we help? There are a lot of things we can do to make other's thanksgiving feast's even better. First, we can donate canned goods and nonperishable items. When you are donating, think if what you are donating is something you would want to be eating for your Thanksgiving meal. Do not just donate the cans that have been sitting on the back shelves of your storage room that may be expired. Donate things that you would want to see on your table. Imagine yourself in the shoes of those who are struggling.
Second, donate your time. Volunteer to help pack or deliver boxes to families in need. Get a group of friends together and it will turn into a great bonding experience. You can have a great time and learn so much in the process.
Third, donate money. You can sponsor one or more families for only $35 per food box. Only $35. For some people that $35 is not a great sum at all, and that $35 can easily be wasted on silly material objects.
I volunteered with City Team located in Chester, PA. I am fortunate to have these volunteer opportunities throughout the semester from my University. City Team is a great organization to donate you time, resources, and money to. Definitely check out the website for more information on how you can help. YOU have the ability to make someone's Thanksgiving better. Do something about it!