3 Ways to Reach Out for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is contagious — not only to our families, but to everyone we touch and love. It’s a perfect time to reach out and pay forward our gratitude for all our blessings and grace. Why? Because, as we sow loving kindness and graciousness (and show others how to do the same), we reap the benefits of a life that expresses love for others.

One way I have shown my love for others in the past is inviting them to come and share Thanksgiving Day dinner with my family. Single friends who are away from home, widows, and orphans have all been invited to join our table. Loving others in this way just feels good, and I’d love to challenge you to do the same — or find your own extraordinary way of serving others who are alone or estranged from family and really need an outstretched hand during this time of year.

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Just recently, as I was speaking with my daughters about how we could be a blessing to others during our first Thanksgiving in Chicago, I was contacted and asked if I would come and speak to a group of women at the Pacific Garden Mission during their Thanksgiving Day celebration. My initial response was, “Wow, that is way outside of my comfort zone.”

After further inquiry, I agreed to consider it and get back with an answer soon. I wrestled with myself that evening, wondering what I had to share with these women who were living in such desperate conditions — then it occurred to me that I could reach out and share with them the very thing that I was so grateful for and has kept me going through many trials in my life. I’ve accepted the invitation to speak; when I go, I will encourage the women there to hold on to hope and be thankful for the promise of a better tomorrow.

What Do You Have in Your Hand That You Can Share?

Chicago has many homeless people. I particularly feel empathy for the women I see on the street. As a result, my family has decided to find a way to reach out to some of them by sharing packages of personal-hygiene items, as well as some information on ways they can better care for themselves.

Look Past the Obvious

In addition to the homeless, orphaned, or widowed people all around us, there are also many families who are simply struggling to keep it all together. To make a difference for people like this, we are partnering with Boxes of Love, an initiative put together by a local organization that ministers to families in need during the holidays. The website explains that “each (box) contains enough food for a family of six to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal in their own home.”

I hope your Thanksgiving holiday is special this year, but I also hope you find a unique, personal way to reach out to others, which is truly a gift that keeps on giving.

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