Elie Wiesel once said, “When a person doesn’t have gratitude, something is missing in his or her humanity.” Given that we are entering the season of giving thanks, Wiesel’s words are worth pondering. How much gratitude must one have to be worthy in the eyes of others? And does it even matter what others think, or if they even know another’s level of gratitude?
While the economy has certainly improved from the difficult times of nearly a decade ago, there are still plenty of Americans struggling day to day, paycheck to paycheck. And we continue to have regular reminders from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands that not all is well in our world as we enter the holiday season.
So before we start giving thanks for our own blessings, let’s try to show both a little gratitude for the good things in our lives, and help others who aren’t as fortunate.
After hurricanes tore through the Caribbean and the Florida Keys earlier this fall, we presented a list of organizations accepting donations to help those in need — and the need is still great, even today. Organizations like the Red Cross (www.redcross.org), Band Aid for America (www.bandaidforamerica.org), Boots on the Ground (www.bootsontheground.org), Mercy Corps (www.mercycorps.org), UNICEF (www.unicefusa.org), Save the Children (www.savethechildren.org) and SPCA International (www.spcai.org) are still working to help those in need. You can also help with the rebuilding effort through Habitat for Humanity (http://share.habitat.org/globalvillage) or volunteer via the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (www.nvoad.org).
Locally, there are also plenty of giving options. Wellington’s Hometown Holiday Food Drive is underway and lasts until Nov. 17. Folks are encouraged to contribute boxed mashed potatoes, boxed stuffing mix, cornbread mix, cranberry sauce, turkey gravy and canned vegetables. Food donations can be dropped off at the Wellington Municipal Complex (12300 W. Forest Hill Blvd.), Wellington’s Village Park (11700 Pierson Road), the Wellington Community Center (12150 W. Forest Hill Blvd.), the Wellington Community Services Office (1092 Wellington Trace), the Lake Wellington Professional Centre (12133 Ken Adams Way), Ultima Fitness (12799 W. Forest Hill Blvd.), the Goddard School (2665 State Road 7) and Schaefer Drugs (12797 W. Forest Hill Blvd.).
You can also donate to the United Way’s Project Thanksgiving (www.unitedwaypbc.org/projectthanksgiving), Feed the Hungry (www.feedthehungry.org), Feeding South Florida (www.feedingsouthflorida.org) or the Bill Brooks’ Food for Families Food Drive (www.wptv.com). According to the United Way, more than 210,000 area residents don’t know where their next meal will come from, 64,000 area children do not have enough to eat and one in every seven senior citizens is food insecure. A mere $20 donation will feed a family in need this holiday season.
Churches are always lending a hand as well in this season of giving. This includes the Royal Palm Covenant Church, which operates a food pantry all year round in Royal Palm Beach. The church is always looking for food and monetary donations — especially this time of year. Visit www.rpcchurch.com or call (561) 793-1077 to help out. New over the past year, Palms West Presbyterian Church (www.pwpchurch.com) now operates Ruth’s Pantry, helping those in need locally.
There’s also the opportunity to volunteer at the Palm Beach County Food Bank (www.pbcfoodbank.org/volunteer) to help support hunger relief in our community. Or, equally important, donate food or host a food drive (www.pbcfoodbank.org/donate-food). Or you can volunteer or donate to the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center (www.westpalmbeach.va.gov/giving), which helps military veterans in a number of ways.
Let’s let our humanity shine through this holiday season.