Thanks & Giving
The smell of turkey wafting through the house, cranberry sauce bubbling on the stove, stuffing rich with apples and sage baking in the oven. Thanksgiving has always been about the harvest and saying thank-you for our bounty. It’s a celebration with family and friends. It’s a tradition.
But traditions are funny things; sometimes we carry on the tradition without really connecting with its origins. We know we should be grateful for all we have, so we truss up the turkey, chop onions and ready the table for a feast. And as we roll out of our seats hours later, stuffed to the gills and very sleepy, we are happy that we got to see family and friends. But how have we demonstrated our “thanks?”
Maybe it’s time to start a new tradition, one where we put a measure to our gratitude, one where we take the time to give back some of our bounty in real ways that help those who have not been as blessed as we have.
The idea of putting our money where our intentions are certainly isn’t a big leap for us. Canadians are a generous lot. It’s been estimated that 85% of Canadians aged 15 and over make a financial donation of some kind during the year.
Canadians on average give about $400 annually to their favorite causes. But splitting our limited dollars among several charities means small donations. And since the median contribution is considerably less – just $120 – it means that some people give a token amount, while others are really committed to giving. In fact, 25% of Canadians make 82% of all donations. Can you imagine what we could accomplish as a society if we could raise the median gift of $120 up to the average of $400. Wow!
According to the Canadian Red Cross, a $100 donation can pay for enough water purification kits to purify over 20,000 litres of water. Oxfam says that $60 is enough to buy one family food for a month. CARE Canada says $15 will buy five cans to carry and store purified water. And just 37 cents will provide purified water for a family of five for a week. And Canadian Feed the Children says that it takes just $17 a month to sponsor a child.
Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to start a giving circle: a group of friends or family members who work together to make their donor-dollars go further. Perhaps you’ll choose to talk, as you feast, about how you can help a cause your family is passionate about. Maybe you’ll make a family list of causes you want to support, and commit to the amounts you will each give. However you choose to establish your new Thanks and Giving tradition, you’ll be in good company.
My Thanks List 2010
1. That my children are happy and healthy.
2. That I live in a beautiful place.
3. That I am free to speak, to worship as I wish, to love whom I want.
4. For my friends who know how to listen and aren’t afraid to speak.
5. That I made it through.
6. That I can do work I truly enjoy.
7. That I have hope and that my heart is full of joy.
I am also extremely grateful for the friends I have made here. You are lovely people, truly you are. And your kindness and acceptance is unparalleled. I wish you all a very happy thanksgiving.