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Thanksgiving is all about being grateful for the life you have and for the people in it. It is also the perfect time to give back to those who are not as fortunate. Some families may not have the luxury to buy a big turkey or even have families to share this holiday with. When celebrating Thanksgiving, it is important to think about others around you and give back to your community.

Here are some ways you can help those in need this holiday season:

1. Write Holiday Cards

Giving back doesn’t have to be expensive. Holiday cards can be found in packs at any convenience store at an inexpensive price. Writing cards to people in nursing homes is a great way to give back this holiday season. Another idea is writing to active duty members who are serving our country. Many people do not have family or have a family that lives near them, so showing them how much you care can really put a smile on their face.

2. Donate Food to a Food Shelf

When organizing your pantry at home, you can find so many unopened canned goods or packaged items that you will probably never use. Donate those items before they expire! If you want to go the extra mile, you could even go grocery shopping specifically for donating those items. Canned vegetables, peanut butter, and pasta are all great food products that many families would be grateful to have.

3. Volunteer at a Food Bank

I have done this in the past and it is one of the best feelings in the world. With each box I pack, I know I have helped feed a family who needs assistance. It is not a lot of hard labor either. Simply packing goods or serving food can make such a big difference.

4. Donate Money/Clothes to Local Foundations

With the holidays around the corner, that means the weather is going to get a lot colder. Go through your closet and pick out and jackets or winter items that don’t fit you or that you simply don’t wear. Instead of taking up space in your closet, they could be used and given to someone else who needs it. Any spare change can also add up over time.

5. Collect Books or School Supplies

Imagine if you asked everyone in your family to bring over one book to donate during the holiday. You could stack up a decent amount of books! These can be donated to families, schools, or your local library.

6. Donate Blood

There is always a need for blood donations. Many people will spend this holiday season in the hospital. Ask as many friends or families as you can to promote donating blood this holiday season. You could save a life.

Helping those in need, especially around the holiday season, can build a lot of character. Each year, I make it my goal to do at least one nice thing for others in my community. It really helps you reflect on your life and gives you a sense of appreciation for the things you have. Giving back is a fulfilling feeling that can make a lifetime of a difference. This holiday season, I challenge you to think about others and ways you could help make a difference.

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Maiah Motley

Winona '23

Communication Arts & Literature Teaching Major at Winona State University in Winona, MN.
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