Wednesday, November 21, 2012 3:06 PM
This post originally appeared at Shareable.net.
Ahh, Thanksgiving, a day
dedicated to community, abundance and gratitude. In an ideal world, this could
be the theme of every day, but we all know how it goes: life is a fast-moving
train and expressions of gratitude oftentimes get left at the station.
Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to give thanks and to give back. Below are
some ideas for having a community-driven, gratitude-inducing, Shareable
Invite people you'd like to get
to know better to share a Thanksgiving meal. How to Host a Stranger Dinner offers advice on how to
Put your meal to music, throw a
Thanksgiving concert in your home. How
to Host a House Concert provides the how-to’s.
Meals on Wheels
serves over one million meals a day to seniors in need. Volunteer to deliver to
someone in your community.
Volunteer to help at a soup
kitchen. DoSomething.org has some ideas on how to get started.
Host a potluck,
to Reinvent the Potluck provides tips on using a potluck as a means of
planning more sharing and community-building projects.
Some areas have community meals,
open to anyone who wants to spend Thanksgiving with their community at-large.
These gatherings are a great way to meet your neighbors, connect with your
community and share in the abundance of the holiday. Contact your city
officials or search the web to see if there's a Thanksgiving community meal in
Have a skill you’d like to offer
to others? This skills-based volunteer program connects those who have
something specific to offer (carpentry, coding, gardening, graphic design etc.)
with those who can benefit from a particular skill-set.
Many homeless people have
limited access to personal care items. This Thanksgiving, Family-to-Family’s Stuff a Shirt for the Homeless campaign is encouraging
people fill a new or lightly-used bag or shirt with supplies including
toothpaste, soap and shampoo. There is also a need for baby bags, with diapers,
wipes and clean clothes. The organization will help you find a drop-off point
Many are still reeling from the
effects of Hurricane Sandy. Volunteers are needed to help with everything from
clothing and food drives to drywall removal and debris clean-up. New York Cares and the HandsOn Network are two of the many organizations that are
coordinating volunteer efforts.
Help out at a homeless shelter. The National Coalition
for the Homeless has extensive resources and a database to find a shelter
Many volunteer opportunities are
based on local needs. Check with organizations in your area to find out what
you can do to help your community with its immediate needs.
Use Thanksgiving as a springboard
into year-round volunteer work. VolunteerMatch connects volunteers with a number of
nonprofits and community programs.
Thanksgiving is the perfect
opportunity to introduce the idea of gratitude to children. The Imagination Tree has arts and craft ideas to get the
gratitude ball rolling. The UC Berkeley News Center offers ways to
teach kids gratitude instead of entitlement. How to Teach Your Kid to Share has some interesting ideas
and resources related to sharing, community and abundance.
Take time to think, feel and
express gratitude. Need a prompt? Four Reasons to Thank Everyone in Your Life provides a
great jumping off point.
Other Ways to Share During Thanksgiving
Shareable’s How To Share
guide has lots of resources and how to’s on sharing, a number of which can be
modified for Thanksgiving.
Tell us how you're having a
Shareable Thanksgiving in comments. And enjoy the holiday!
Image by David Goehring,
licensed under Creative
Wednesday, November 23, 2011 1:21 PM
Perhaps, like me, you’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving this year with a full heart. Likely you know someone who has lost their job, someone who is battling disease, someone whose plate of worries has been heaped full. Perhaps that person is a friend of a friend, a close loved one, or yourself. At the same time, you probably have a lot to be grateful for. Maybe you are blessed with a loving partner or supportive family or true friends—or all three. Likely someone you don’t know has touched your life in a positive way. That’s what nonprofits do every day: work for people in need who they don’t know personally. With this in mind, Nonprofit Tech 2.0 has published a list of 50 nonprofits to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. You’ll be familiar with some of the organizations; others will be new names. I’ve highlighted five here that you might not know about and that are doing exceptional work:
Communities in Schools: Because America ranks 14th in reading, 17th in science, and 25th in math.
Darkness to Light: Because 1 of every 4 girls and 1 every 6 boys in the U.S. will be sexually abused by the age of 18.
Moms Rising: Because the U.S. is the only developed nation in the world without paid maternity leave.
Polaris Project: Because at this very moment 100,000 minors are being trafficked for sex in the United States.
Southern Poverty Law Center: Because hate, bigotry, and intolerance continue to thwart and undermine the American Dream.
Source: Nonprofit Tech 2.0
Image by WishUponACupcake, licensed under Creative Commons.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010 5:41 PM
The holidays just wouldn’t be the same without the slowly simmering tension between people who eat meat and those who don’t. Vegetarians brace themselves for uncomfortable questions about their motivations, while carnivores are certain that they’re being seen as bloodthirsty murderers by the veggies as they gnaw on their turkey drumsticks.
I’m a meat eater, but increasingly I’m a conscientious carnivore, eating meat sparingly and when I can be assured the animal was treated with respect and compassion. That’s why I was powerfully moved by a new video released just before Thanksgiving by the Humane Society of the United States that starkly reinforced an uncomfortable truth: Mass-produced turkeys lead grim lives of discomfort, cruelty, and outright abuse.
The footage, obtained by an undercover employee at the Willmar Poultry Company in Willmar, Minnesota, shows young turkeys, or poults, being mistreated at the megaplant, where they tumble off conveyor belts, are grabbed by the handful, and have their beaks lasered off in a grotesque spinning machine that dangles them by their heads. It’s a bizarre, highly mechanized, and, yes, inhumane place.
Here’s the kicker: The plant is so huge that according to the Humane Society, it supplies 50 percent of the turkeys sold in the nation. That means there’s a very good chance your family’s megafarm turkey came from the very place shown in the video.
When a story about the turkey video was posted by the Minneapolis newspaper the Star Tribune, comments ran into the hundreds. Many broke down along predictable lines, with unrepentant carnivores and self-righteous veggies staking out their polarized ground. The interesting responses came from people who were truly shocked at how turkeys are treated and reconsidering their holiday main-course options.
To me, it all adds up to one thing: squash lasagna. Happy holidays.
Source: Humane Society of the United States
D. Sharon Pruitt
, licensed under
Wednesday, November 24, 2010 12:10 PM
In a beautiful remembrance of Barry Hannah, who died earlier this year, William Giraldi writing in AGNI tells of a fishing expedition the two shared as an escape to a writers’ conference they were attending. The piece begins with Hannah asking Giraldi if he’d been fishing lately. Giraldi replies,
“Like a Nazarene.” [Hannah] had recently become reinvigorated by Christianity—born again lower case—and gone sober after a lifetime of being a venal Baptist and then nearly dying in an Oxford, Mississippi, hospital from too many maladies: lymphoma, pneumonia, organs napalmed by decades of cigarettes and booze. As a twenty-something sycophant and Hannah fanatic myself, I referenced Christ when I could—my Jesus-happy boyhood on me like a party hat—and even recited for him the religious sonnets of Donne and Hopkins. “Those bards are bent believers,” he said. “Sing more.”
The rest of the essay follows that fishing day trip and the return to the conference the two were escaping for a short time, exploring themes, from love to violence, in Hannah’s work.
It was a footnote near the end, though, that sent me away from the essay searching for a referenced piece Hannah wrote for Paste magazine called “The Maddening Protagonist,” as it seemed like it might give some answers to why the elder writer might have “become reinvigorated by Christianity.”
In a time when the date celebrating Christ’s birthday has been co-opted by marketers and sales folk and used earlier and earlier each year to hock their wares—Christmas songs playing in Macy’s well before Thanksgiving…soon, no doubt, before Halloween and then onto Labor Day!—I figure it’s never too early to give a dose of what that birth and life actually means, or could mean, when not bastardized for bottom lines and by those so called Christians on the right. And that’s exactly what Hannah’s essay does, so I offer bits of it here as a salve against Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and all the other shopping-named days to come.
To begin, Hannah sets the table for what is about to be served:
Thousands of pastors have memorized the work and pontificated on it without an honest reading. You’d hear more honest confusion and less braying rhetoric from the pulpits if the Bible were actually confronted even by Christian-leaning ministers. You’d get fewer knee-jerk liars from the so-called-Christian Right if they could or would read their own New Testaments. The absence of many millions of sincere Christians and near-Christians from church is less a matter of apostasy than disgust.
Then, on Christ:
You’ll hear much cursing of God in this crawling tangle of hurt and elation we have in life. But I’ve never heard advice to curse Christ and die. Neither have I heard of a “Christ-fearing” town. Christ evokes a gentle and strong silence. For me. For billions.
Poor Mary, the very vessel that put [Jesus] forth, is always wondering and pondering in her heart….How can the Savior and lamb be so cruel as to expect her to understand when he must know she cannot? Mary is thus all of humanity.
And, finally, on the faith itself:
For simple truthful laymen, the Holy Bible is inconsistent to an almost sickening degree, and we mainly just let it pass….Through the ages there seems a redundancy of the outright mad clutching Bibles to their chests and spouting scripture incoherently as they proceed from one asylum to the next….
I ask now who, two millennia from these words and actions [of Christ], can be altogether comfortable and glib in their soul when they believe in the Savior as the Lamb of God, the Son of God, the Son of Man in fragile body, killed through the agency of his fellow man by his own omniscient Father, as a passway to paradise, his father’s kingdom where there are “many mansions”?
It takes one confused and near-absurd fellow mystic to believe, is what.
It would behoove you to combat what will be thrust aggressively upon you this holiday season with Hannah’s exploration of his faith in this essay.
Source: AGNI, Paste
Friday, November 21, 2008 11:14 AM
Instead of gorging yourself on industrialized, Butterball turkey, canned cranberries, and just-add-broth stuffing this Thanksgiving, take a cue from the folks at Slow Food USA, who have given serious thought (and research) to the dishes that will populate their Thanksgiving spreads.
To aid in menu planning, the Slow Food USA blog is referring readers to their US Ark of Taste list, which catalogs hundreds of rare, regional American foods. These foods make for an inspired family feast, the blog contends, because it's only "fitting to prepare foods that support people in our communities and reflect our local traditions," on a holiday that's all about celebrating thankfulness through food.
Here are a few of the foods in the Ark catalog that should blend seamlessly into your Thanksgiving meal:
The site highlights eight heirloom turkey varieties, including the Royal Palm, Bourbon Red, Midget White, and American Bronze. (NPR's Monkey See blog makes a good argument for embracing these turkeys and leaving Butterball behind for good.)
It offers a list of American apples long enough to fill a whole bakery with pies.
And, it also suggests the Ivis White Cream Sweet Potato, produced in the northern U.S., and two white potato varieties, the Ozette and the Green Mountain.
Each of the ingredients on the Ark list is accompanied by a thorough description of its heritage and cultural significance, which provides the added bonus of great fodder for dinner table conversation.
Image by CarbonNYC, licensed under Creative Commons.
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