Sharing and Caring for One Another
The holidays seemed so far away in March and April – and now they are just a few weeks away!
While this time of year is usually filled with reserving flights and making menus for a house filled with family and friends, all too often when speaking with people this year, I hear “we just canceled our traditional Thanksgiving gathering” or “it’s just not worth it this year” followed by looks of sadness and dismay. This is heartbreaking because Thanksgiving is a holiday of joy – of unity – and bringing people together over a good meal (or a solid attempt at a good meal based on who was preparing it). All we know is this year Thanksgiving is probably going to look and feel different than in years past. While we certainly want everyone to be safe, we also want to share how the St. Louis Area Foodbank is providing food AND hope this holiday season!
Providing Food: we are continuing to serve and strengthen our communities through our robust partner and program network. We are so grateful to the people serving at our partner food pantries, shelters, transitional housing locations, community centers, and schools for your amazing resilience and strength. We will continue to work hard to ensure your shelves are stocked and ready to serve neighbors in need.
Thanksgiving Together: this is the third year for our annual “Thanksgiving Together” event and instead of just one location to distribute full Thanksgiving meals, we will distribute meals at TEN (yes, 10) locations across our region. Working with 5 partners in Missouri and 5 in Illinois, we want to work hard to ensure everyone can enjoy a healthy and wholesome meal with their families this Thanksgiving.
Providing Hope: Whether it is engaging our community in participating in our new “Hope Notes” virtual volunteer program, coordinating community food drives (or virtual food drives on our new website!), providing assistance for SNAP applications, or just giving a smile or an elbow bump to individuals we meet at our mobile markets and food fairs, we know that we are making a difference together.
The smiles are real – the tears of relief are real – and they matter to more people now than ever before. We like to say around here that “hunger can affect anyone, but anyone can affect hunger.” This holiday season, there are many ways to join us in making a lasting difference in people’s lives. And in the end, I believe that is truly what Thanksgiving is all about – sharing and caring for one another.
So, during this Thanksgiving season, instead of focusing on what we cannot do or may have to do differently, we challenge you to shift your perspective. Instead of focusing on this “lemon” called COVID, find ways to make lemonade. Be creative – find new ways to connect with family, friends, and people that you may not truly know; establish new traditions; make new memories; and as always, remember to choose joy and be kind. As the philosopher Marcus Aurelius once said, “remember that you have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”