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