I was out to dinner with my family for my husband's birthday, when my mom and dad got to talking about what they were doing for Thanksgiving. I'm won't be there--I'm visiting the in-laws, including the sister in law with the new niece--and my sister is visiting her boyfriend. So, my parents were to be empty-nesters for the first holiday ever.
My dad suggested that they volunteer at a soup kitchen, and do something to help the less fortunate. My mom heartily agreed.
My parents rule.
This Thanksgiving, keep in mind that there are a ton of people less fortunate out there, even more so in years past due to the economic downturn. These people need care and support, but not just food. They need hope, and to know that others care.
Maybe your budget it also tight this year, but if you can't give money, you can always give time. Maybe it's going to a soup kitchen, maybe it's donating food, or maybe not.
I don't have time this year, what with two jobs and a house to take care of, but I do have some money. The Mister and I will be making some donations before the holidays, and also will start to put charity as a line item in our budget for 2009.
Not to get too didactic, but there's surely something you can do to bring a smile to someone else's face and lighten their load. It will lift your spirits as much as it will lift theirs.
Here's some links to get you started:
The Hunger Site et. al: All you do is click on a link and ad revenue goes to charities. Super easy
How to donate food to a soup kitchen: An EHow article that gives the basics.
Look into microcredit: Microcredit is basically giving a small, short-term loan to someone whose needs are so small or who is so poor that they can't get bank financing. It's sort of like lending your sister $50 to buy books for college until her student loans come through, or giving your son $40 to start up a lemonade stand. Much, but not all, microcredit is for international purposes, so if you want to help peopole in your community this might not be the way to go. But it will directly help people.