During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season it is easy for us to get wrapped up in ourselves, our parties, our gifting, our decorating... While I think it is good to remember to give back at all times of the year, I think it especially important during our time of Thanksgiving and Christmas celebration. These are the times when we most want to be near our loved ones to enjoy their company in, typically, a warm home with lots of food on the table. This is the time of the year when most of us remember how many blessings we have so why not share some of our blessings with others?
Do not take me for someone who is discouraging any charitable organization but I think some of the most important ones are those that provide basic necessities for a more self-sufficient life. Organizations like Second Harvest Food Bank and Knox Area Relief Ministries (KARM) are two in my area that provide support for my fellow East Tennessee residents. Second Harvest works all year round to provide food for those in need but they work even harder to help provide holiday dinners for families as well. KARM also helps in providing meals and they also have other programs like their annual coat drive to keep people warm during the coldest times of the year. Thankfully, organizations like these make it fairly simple during the holidays to drop goods off or even to purchase them and leave them at the store you are shopping at. Second Harvest even has a site where you are able to, with the click of a button, sponsor a child, family or senior citizen in need. I don't know about you, but I often forget to give to those in my own community because I am so distracted by third world countries. There are so many in need in the communities we live in.
So, 'I am already giving to my local community,' you say? Well, there are a couple of organizations that I would recomend if you want to think beyond the borders of our country. Heifer International and Blood:Water Mission are two that I would love to throw your way. Heifer International helps those in need all over the globe by providing an animal or other tools and training to equip and empower those with almost nothing. It is just one of the coolest things to me. And the organization is found in my home state, Arkansas. Pretty cool. Blood:Water Mission is an organization that partners with African communities to help put an end to the HIV/AIDS and water crisis by providing tools to access water sources and create and sustain local HIV/AIDS clinics. If you check their site out there are tangible ways you can donate.
So what about you? What do you do in your community to show you care? I am convicted as I type about my lack of support for those in need around me. I encourage you to learn about your community's needs and the organizations that serve others around you. Find new ways to share your blessings. I plan to do the same.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all!