Thoughts For Thanksgiving

Posted: November 26, 2008 in Compassion, Homeless Shelters, Homelessness, Hunger, Morality

Since the beginning of the month I’ve been getting e-mails from folks asking about volunteering to feed/help the homeless. As Thanksgiving Day has drawn nearer, the numbers of those types of e-mails has increased. And, I’ve spent time thinking about those e-mails. I’ve also answered everyone one of them.  

Although I am not affiliated with any homeless support services organization (HSS), when I set this blog up I put together a page with local homeless resources. Subsequently, as I’ve answered those e-mails from folks who want to volunteer some of their time to help the homeless, I have invariably referred them to that page.

One of the "thank you’s" I received said this:

"Thank you very much. I have tried a couple of the places listed on the link you gave me, and I am just waiting to hear back from them."

And that started me thinking.

I like the idea that all of these folks want to volunteer some time helping feed the homeless for Thanksgiving. But I’m wondering how many of them will actually get the opportunity to do so? I wonder about that because of the last nine words from his e-mail:

"… I am just waiting to hear back from them."

I wonder if that person did have someone get back to him. Or did his request get "lost in the shuffle?"

There is a possibility of that because, during this time of year – especially with folks feeling that sense of "holiday cheer" – there is a higher propensity for folks to want to do something charitable. Which means that homeless support services organizations are getting a higher than usual amount of offers from folks who want to volunteer their time. This in turn means that HSS organizations may already have more than enough folks to help.

Additionally, there are limitations on physical space. There are only so many people who can be within the confines of a building at one time. The goal for HSS organizations is to serve as many homeless as they can within a certain period of time. As a result, HSS groups may have to limit the numbers of volunteers in order to be able to serve as many of the homeless at one time as possible.

The irony is that during the rest of the year, most HSS organizations lack adequate numbers of folks willing to volunteer their time.

While I think it’s wonderful that folks are willing to help out during the holiday season – ideally, it would be nice if they were just as willing to lend a hand during the rest of the year as well.

As for the gentleman and his family who wanted to volunteer their time, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that someone did get back to him and that his inquiry didn’t fall on deaf ears.

One last thought –

For those of you who will be gathered with your families, friends and loved ones tomorrow to share a Thanksgiving meal please remember those who are living on the streets of our nation in your prayers.

Just because they are homeless, doesn’t mean they are unworthy of our compassion.

The majority of them will not have a nice warm bed to sleep in tomorrow night. Some of them may even go without a meal tomorrow.

It seems to me that the best way for each of us to give thanks for the many blessings that we have – regardless of how small or large those blessings may be – is to be kind to one another and to treat one another, homeless and non-homeless, with dignity and respect.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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Comments
  1. AnAmerican says:

    Thank you for inspiring us all to be better neighbors to one another,not only on the holidays but each and every day of the year.
    May your Thanksgiving be one of many blessings!

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