Well folks, it’s that time of year when the weather gets cooler outside, the leaves do their color dance and dwindle to the ground. The air is crisp and sharp to the breathe. Kitchens are warming up for their big performances and the over flowing amount of delicious home made goodies. ( Any one how to show drool? Maybe like this );;;;;;;;;;;………
So Turkey time is around the corner and you best believe that I have had my fair share of preparing foods for this fine feast of a holiday. Knock on wood, I can safely say that I have never had a Thanksgiving mishap, NO not un- thawing the turkey in time, no leaving of the “bagged goods” inside the turkey while cooking. So I am very happy and thankful for that. But besides coming together and gorging our faces with pumpkin, mashed potato, stuffing, cranberry goodness. A lot more comes with Thanksgiving and that’s what I am here to discuss with you.
This is the time of year for giving, not receiving, but true, whole hearted giving, the kind from deep within the soul. The kind that you never thought twice about. What are some of the ways that we can help others or give back this year? As a kid, my parents would take my sister and I to a homeless shelter and we would help prepare food, serve food and clean up after others as part of our Thanksgiving tradition. I can remember assembling baskets with all kinds of food in them and lining them up on the counter to be delivered. I remember being very shy and scared walking into that dreary hospital like building and seeing loads of people, with humble eyes and embarrassed faces just looking on into nothing. Kids, older folks, teenagers, moms and dads all huddled together waiting for a hot meal. At first, I didn’t understand why they were all there. Even if my parents had explained it to me, it was not understood. We were quickly given plastic hair nets, gloves and our sleeves rolled up. Big ladles for gravy, giant trays of bread rolls, tongs for sliced turkey meat and stuffing being served with ice cream scoopers. We jumped in a line and either served away or were given canned food items to gently decorate a wicker basket with, wrapped in colored plastic and bow with a card. The hustle of the volunteers, the smiles from the people eating. This was an amazing sight to see. This was the biggest family we had ever seen. Children laughing and playing with one another. Passing of the un-needed bread or green beans to another. The whole room was just magic, it even smelled so perfectly of food and love. Just a few hours had gone by and it seemed like an entire day. We ate, we visited, we hugged and we left. Staring out the car window at a line of people waiting to get food with young children in tow in the coldest Nevada winter breeze ever.
With no words spoken the whole drive home, opening the door to our warm house and walking into my bedroom filled with everything I ever wanted, the emptiness set in instantly. We had everything we wanted not needed, but wanted. Our house was warm and the fridge was full, sitting on the top shelf, the wasted ham sandwich that I refused to eat for no good reason. The TV blaring with the PlayStation that my sister left on. All of this, was meaningless, useless and I deserved NONE of it.
I grabbed a black trash bag and started throwing everything I owned into it. Barbies, clothes, stuffed animals, toys and board games, whatever I could grab. I packed up one bag and started in on another. My dad came in wondering what I was doing and I kindly explained that I wanted to give all this stuff to others, so they could have it. With a slight tear in my eye for giving up my stuff, the tear was really meant for the kids that had nothing and may not have anything for the holidays. Down to the local goodwill we went, I carried that big ass bag myself and turned it in. In my mind I really just wanted to hand out each toy to every kid on the street I saw. From that exact moment on, I never looked back. To this day, I will always remember the feeling of giving-just because. This experience has made me who I am today. The reason why I feel that I am so grounded. To me, food is the one thing that I will always, always share and make for others- just because. You can have half of mine 🙂 Inviting a friend over for dinner that isn’t doing so well these days, it’s a reason to love and to care. There is nothing more universal than a hot meal!
So with all that said, I started checking out some of the ways that here in Reno, Nevada, we can help others who are not as fortunate as others. If you are interested in volunteering your time, there are so many different areas that you can help. not just during the holidays, but all year round. Check out http://nevadavolunteers.volunteermatch.org/ to sign up with whatever area you can. Even your current profession might be helpful for others to learn your thoughts or trade secrets. Evelyn Mount is another great opportunity to donate or help.
Evelyn Mount’s home
2530 Cannan Street Reno, Nevada 89512
Donation hours: Mon – Sat 10:30 am – 5:00 pm
Sunday 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm.
There are tons of donation boxes all over town that you can donate canned goods and clothing. Reno has a Men’s shelter that is always is in need of volunteers. For information on how you can support the program, or volunteer, contact Community Relations and Development Officer Sandy Isham at 775.322.7143, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A women’s shelter as well, http://caaw.org/support-caaw/
Grocery stores, USPS and even the local library accepts donations to help those in need. And not just cash, food, clothes, home goods, tools, kids items, you name it. If you can do without it, donate it this year! Even animals need some goodies too, Nevada Humane Society is always looking for volunteers to help walk dogs or feed/clean animal kennels. Any dog, cat, horse or other animal food, water buckets, etc.
I can promise you that not only will others appreciate what you’ve done but your heart and soul will be filled with a kind of love that is out of this world! I encourage you, where ever you live, to help out a little. Pay it forwards kind of thing, but not at Starbucks, OK, on the streets, where its really needed! I hope to have inspired you to get out a help this holiday season, you’ll be so glad that you did. Till next time, keep loving and inspiring in Nevada!