Put the Giving Back in Thanksgiving

7:35 PM

(credit: Greater Boston Food Bank)

Thanksgiving is considered the Super bowl for foodies – they have their game face on as they prepare for the biggest feast of the year. Sadly no one is shouting “I’m going to Disney World” when the day is done.

With all the hoopla around Thanksgiving (and this year is particularly auspicious as Hannukah coincides with Turkey day for the first time in over 100 years), it’s regrettably easy to forgot about those that are less fortunate. This year is particularly difficult for many families with cuts to SNAP and the struggling economy.

I admit I’ve been lost as to finding the best way to teach my kids about charity. How can I teach them about selflessness and empathy and explain devastation, loss or life-threatening illness that is all around us? There are a ton of resources on this subject, including the well-known work of Mister Rogers, which I wrote about here.

I recently came to the realization that children are capable of giving of themselves more than I give them credit for. Take for example my good friend and her 9-year-old son. They’ve been volunteering at the Pine Street Inn, New England’s largest resource for homeless men and women. Her son came up with the idea of a starting a cereal drive for the organization at his school two years ago, and they've been volunteering there every weekend since. Or the simple lesson given to my 5 year-old by his PreK teacher on filling a friend’s (emotional) bucket everyday. Lesson learned? Reinforce charitable values everyday. Make it a family activity. In doing so, you’ll no doubt raise good kids.

With that said, here are some great causes to consider giving time or money to during Thanksgiving and all year:

Here’s to giving everyone much to be thankful for.

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