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Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays of the year. It’s great for spending time with our loved ones and eating amazing food that we spent hours preparing. Over the years, I’ve felt that I may have lost touch with what the true spirit of the holiday is: giving thanks. In order to help reground myself this year, I have compiled a list of ways that both you and I can give back during this holiday season. 

Be more inviting

If you know someone that is going to be spending Thanksgiving alone this year, invite them to join you and your friends or family for dinner. No one deserves or wants to be alone during the holiday season that’s all about giving! Adding another plate or two to the dinner table is a small act that could make a huge difference for someone else to ensure they feel welcome and loved. The more the merrier!

Donate your lightly used belongings

It’s important to recognize how fortunate you are to have all your material belongings like clothes, furniture, etc. Growing up, my parents would ask my sister and me to fill a box with our old toys and clothes in order to “make room” for our new presents that were on the way. My parents would then donate this box to a local Goodwill. This is something that I want to reincorporate into my life. There are so many items that are no longer of use to me that could be extremely valuable to others. I recommend going through your belongings and seeing if there are any items that you could donate to local charitable organizations.

Volunteer your time

As college students, we may not necessarily have too many items to donate, but we can always donate our time instead. I know volunteering can seem like the most common way to show gratitude and spread love during the holiday season, but that doesn’t make it any less useful and special. There are many organizations around the city that are always looking for volunteers ranging from soup kitchens and health care clinics to putting together care packages for soldiers overseas. Taking action is a great way to show gratitude and help those that are less fortunate than ourselves. 

This holiday season, I ask you all to take a few minutes to yourself to acknowledge all that you have to be thankful for. Our health, family, friends, talents and time are all a privilege to have in our lives. After reflecting, let’s all ask ourselves how we can spread that love and good fortune with others this holiday season!

Maya is a 4th Year Medical Student at UMKC. Even though she is working towards a very STEM orientated major, Maya enjoys using writing as a creative outlet. When Maya isn't studying, she enjoys writing (duh), soccer, music, and shopping.
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