Thoughts on Gratitude and Generosity
Thanksgiving~a time to gather families and friends and give thanks for all the blessings in our lives. Special people come to mind when I "count my blessings." I am grateful for those who live an attitude of gratitude and a generosity of spirit that enrich the lives of everyone they meet. Through these people, I've learned the power of one person to make a difference.
Last year I wrote about a seven year old, Hannah, with such a spirit of generosity that she raised money for tsunami relief by baking and selling brownies to the members of her church. Later she involved neighbors in raising money for Childrenís Hospital Los Angeles and gathering donations to stock a toy closet at City of Hope. This year she decided to collect clothing for Union Rescue Mission Los Angeles, one of only a few shelters that take in families and help them get back on their feet.
With help from her mother, she wrote a flyer explaining what she was doing and asking her neighbors to join her. She attached the letter to bags donated by a local market, and she and her mother walked the neighborhood, dropping off bags at 100 houses. Neighbors were invited to fill the bag and either put it in the bin on her porch or leave it by their own door for pick-up on 30 September. Following the adage, "the more, the merrier," Hannah revised her flyer and invited members of her church and families in its preschool to participate.
One of the neighbors dropping off clothing included a letter explaining how her cousinís sons had become addicted to drugs as adolescents and lived destructive lives for years before making their way to the Union Rescue Mission Fresno, where they received the help they needed to turn their lives around. The neighbor wanted Hannah~and her supportive family~to know that their efforts truly make a difference. Thanksgiving provides us an opportunity to create a new tradition~a family-centered service project. Start simple, ask everyone coming to dinner to bring food for a local food bank. Involve everyone, from youngest to oldest, in giving thanks and giving generously. We'll be nourishing our spirits as we help others nourish their bodies.