Thanks + Giving
Oh, a sweet holiday is upon us! Thanksgiving is a wonderful time for those of us with small children who are tracing their hands to make turkeys and learning to think about and express gratitude for all the people, animals, and things they love. Thanksgiving is a lovely time for those of us with enough food for our families and warm, safe homes. It can be a very cold, lonely, and frightening time for others, though. It can be a sharp reminder of all the things that are missing for families and individuals dealing with very difficult unforeseen circumstances. How can we teach our children to be grateful for all they have and to be generous to all who are in need? How can we teach them Thanks + Giving?
Some friends of ours have hit upon a way. Last year, they had a very bright and beautiful idea for celebrating the day after Thanksgiving. They decided to name it Donation Friday. They invited their friends, neighbors, co-workers, and the schoolmates of their three boys to drop by for an open house featuring delicious leftover pie and egg nog. And they invited everyone who dropped by to drop off donations of any kind. They accepted diapers, food items, toiletries, blankets, clothing, toys, books, pet supplies – you name it! They gathered several van-loads of donations and then delivered them to local charities all afternoon. It was a wonderful opportunity for everyone to come together and enjoy one another and to help others in a very practical way. Our friends are at it again this year. We can’t wait to visit with them and share our donations. Our kids are excited to have a hand in making winter a little easier for people in our community who are struggling. And our friends are hoping their idea will catch on. They are spreading the word to everyone they know in other communities, encouraging them to host Donation Friday parties to help folks where they live.
WE LOVE THIS IDEA! We hope it catches on! Please consider hosting a Donation Friday party in YOUR neighborhood. It’s fun and easy and will really make a difference. And your children will be learning that they have the power to help.
Another idea we love here in Albuquerque is Los Ojos de la Familia (the Eyes of the Family) http://www.losojosdelafamilia.org/ , a grassroots charity movement for New Mexico. On December 20th, los Ojos de la Familia will repeat their Holiday Gift Basket Event. Last year, they surprised 225 families with 65-pound holiday gift baskets filled with food, toiletries, desserts, treats, holiday dinner and toys. This year, they hope to increase the gift to 250 baskets. This is another incredible opportunity to share financial gifts and/or to volunteer time to help organize and personally deliver the baskets to families in need. They are currently accepting individual ($50 per family) and corporate sponsorships. If you would like to help, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 505-362-6073.
Whether you organize or attend a Donation Friday party, purchase a gift basket for Los Ojos de la Familia, serve Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless and hungry at one of your city’s charitable organizations, or find some other creative way to give comfort and kindness to the people of your community, we wish you a peaceful, safe Thanksgiving holiday. And we hope you know we are thankful for YOU!