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I want to take a moment to wish you and yours a happy and blessed Thanksgiving.  It is a special time of year filled with traditions and traditional flavors and customs.  This time of year is always a good time to reflect on our blessings and be thankful for our health, because any day above ground is a decent day; to be thankful for our family, crazy as they may be; to be thankful for our friends, the close ones know who you are and I am grateful that you put up with my nonsense and overlook my shortcomings which are too many to count (I’m still a work in progress…without as much progress as I would like!).  This is the time of year when patience is essential.  This is the time of year when simply smiling at a busy store worker and saying “thank you” can make his/her day seem a little less difficult.  This is the time of year to fix a coffee for a friend in need, even if it’s just to vent…have patience, remember?

This is the time of year when too many people suffer too much, have too little to eat, and no place to call home.  These are the people whom we need to remember.  Please give to the food bank and homeless shelters, and volunteer to help in these places, better yet, do both.  Here’s a list of 10 things food banks need, but never ask for:

  • Spices—Think about it. People who rely on the food bank eat a lot of canned food, rice, oatmeal, white bread, etc. They love spices. Seasoned salt, cayenne pepper, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, oregano, basil and so on.
  • Feminine Products—Can you imagine being worried about affording these? Pads, tampons, panty liners, etc. Recommended: Buy in bulk at Costco for donating.
  • Chocolate—People don’t need it, but think about being in their shoes and how nice it would be to be given a chocolate bar or brownie mix along with your essentials.
  • Toiletries—Grocery stores are great about donating surplus or unsold food, but they have no reason to donate toilet paper, tooth paste, soap, deodorant, shampoo, etc. Food stamps often don’t cover these.
  • Canned meats and jerky—This isn’t true of all food banks, but some struggle to give users enough protein.
  • Crackers and tortillas—They don’t spoil and everybody likes them.
  • Baby toiletries—Diapers, baby wipes, baby formula, baby shampoo, baby soap, baby food, bottles, etc.
  • Soup packets—Sometimes you look at rice, beans, instant potatoes, and cans of vegetable and think, “What do I make with this?” Hearty soup is a complete meal.
  • Socks—From a former homeless person: “Socks mean the world to you. They keep you warm, make you feel like you have something new, and just comfort you.”
  • Canned fruit other than pineapple—Food banks get a lot of pineapple donated. Their clients love it when other kinds of fruit are available.

Yes indeed, we have much to be grateful and thankful for….Most of us have more abundance than we need; please remember those that have less, but are not less.

Bask in the warmth and love of those around you and above all, have a Happy Thanksgiving!