By Jessica Williamson*
Thanksgiving brings to mind so many emotions, so many memories. I think of food—and lots of it—as well as the smells of the feast being prepared, the warmth from the oven and from the many humans gathered in the house. Over the years, some of those precious souls have passed and wonderful new souls have come into the family. But what stays the same is the coming together of loved ones to share the feast and give thanks.
One of those new souls is my nine-year-old son, and he and his classmates are showing me that the true spirit of Thanksgiving is very much alive and thriving. The children were asked to bring in specific food items for gift baskets for needy families. They were also asked to collect loose change to buy items for the families.
My son has been known to collect loose change to buy things for himself, but on this particular afternoon, he was scouring the house enthusiastically, collecting money for others, people in need. On that day, those folks were much more important to him than anything he could buy for himself. This is big for a nine-year-old, and I was filled with pride.
The students decorated placemats for the families, giving up study hall time to help make someone’s Thanksgiving a bit brighter. My son gave me joyous daily reports on how many placemats he had finished, giving up time he usually spent getting a head start on his homework.
The school devoted a full day to the Thanksgiving project. They celebrated Mass, prepared the baskets of donated food and transported the goods to the collection center. The students were totally absorbed in what they were doing and were all smiles as they worked. The teachers and staff were helping hands, and a fleet of parents in minivans loading the food stretched the whole length of the school. The whole scene brought tears to my eyes.
This Thanksgiving, as we all gather to share bountiful meals with our families, we will reflect on all that we have. Whether we have a little or a lot, it is a day to be truly thankful. And, when it comes to the “giving” part of Thanksgiving, my son is a reminder that every little bit helps and that many hands make the work light.
My personal goal is to make every day “Thanksgiving,” to celebrate and thank God for our many blessings, and to always remember those who are in need and the ways in which we can help them throughout the year.
*Jessica Williamson is the MHSH Business Manager