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Putting the Giving in Thanksgiving

The holidays are upon us and Thanksgiving is just over a week away. Thanksgiving can be traced back to 1621 when William Bradford declared a three-day feast to celebrate a successful first harvest in the new land. Bradford invited Chief Massasoit to show thanks to him and his tribe for teaching the new settlers how to farm and to keep peace.

Today, Thanksgiving is still a time to gather with family and friends to reflect on the bounties we’ve received. Thanksgiving is also a time to give to our neighbors. Here are a few ways you can get your family involved.

Participate in a food drive.
We all look forward to our Thanksgiving dinner. Unfortunately, not everyone will have a similar experience. While you’re out purchasing the groceries for your family’s meal, pick up a few extra items to stock the food pantry in your neighborhood. Get your co-workers involved in your efforts so you can donate more to the cause.

Remember the soldiers.
Many of us also look forward to spending Thanksgiving with our families. Those serving overseas won’t have that opportunity. Sending care packages are a way to honor our armed forces and give them a little piece of home. Groups such as AnySoldier and Operation Gratitude can assist you in sending packages. You can also give to Cell Phone for Soldiers. Started by two teenagers, this program donates used cell phones and prepaid phone cards to give soldiers a way to call home this holiday season.

Make a visit.
Some spend Thanksgiving in a hospital or retirement community with family far away. Make a call and see if there are programs that allow visitors to stop by for a little company. You may just make a new connection.