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A Not So Happy Thanksgiving

For most of my days, I’ve lived a sheltered life.  However, my first job after graduating from college brought me to inner city Wilmington, Delaware as a social worker.  My eyes were opened to the homeless, poor and unfortunate.  This experience led me to serve the needy during my first Thanksgiving in Chicago, going to a homeless shelter near Cabrini Green, one of the roughest projects in Chicago.  I didn’t see any television cameras or professional football players handing out free turkeys, what I observed was a not so Happy Thanksgiving.

Everyone should get of their comfort zones once in a while to see what its like on the other side.  I’m not talking about Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd in Trading Places.  Rather, I think its healthy to see how little other people have so that you may begin to appreciate all the things you have accumulated in life.  Fashion, shopping and temporary pleasures blind most individuals to what’s really important: family, faith and fellowship.  Without this type of perspective, a spoiled generation will continue to whine, “what’s in it for me,” while the less fortunate have another not so Happy Thanksgiving.

Clothes, food and a place to call home is foreign to some individuals.  Though many may receive a Turkey to cook, how long will the leftovers last?  Will some have to wait til Christmas before the next act of generosity finds these helpless souls?  Therefore, as you watch the parades, gather for a feast and watch some football for dessert, don’t limit your giving to a couple of times per year.  Rather, take a look around and see who you can help so that a not so Happy Thanksgiving can turn into a very Merry Christmas.

by Jay Mankus

Somebody Do Something

     During his inaugural address in 1961, John F. Kennedy understood the spirit of rugged individualism.  Instead of waiting for the government to come the rescue, JFK urged American citizens to be proactive by saying, “ask not what your country can do for you; ask what can you do for your country.”  In other words, somebody do something now!
     In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, residents from New Jersey and New York have been heard on television complaining to reporters covering the aftermath of this super storm.  These citizens directly affected have been waiting for FEMA, local officials and utility companies to come to the rescue with little or no avail.  Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh recently compared the Obama Administration to Santa Claus, creating a society seeking free handouts, goodies from the government.  Unfortunately, president Obama have convinced voters to go against JFK’s plea, waiting for somebody else to act.
     According to Jesus in Matthew 20:20-28 and Mark 9:46-50, the greatest achievement in life a person can accomplish is serving others.  Churches during Hurricane Katrina were vital transport areas, taking food and supplies directly to those affected.  Meanwhile, every Thanksgiving, homeless shelters across the nation provide a warm meal to the poor and needy.  Therefore, if you are tired of waiting for someone to come to your rescue, look around your neighborhood for a desperate soul and lend a helping hand.  When somebody does something for another individual, they will receive more from giving than they do from receiving.
by Jay Mankus
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