Today’s post comes from Michael Nealis, Interactive Strategy Coordinator for Points of Light Institute.
A few years ago, my best friend and I decided to break with tradition and host our own Thanksgiving dinner.
It started out simply enough. The first year we ran a race on Thanksgiving morning then cooked dinner for twelve people. Then things got a little out of hand.
You see, that first year was pretty easy, so each year we tried to have a bigger dinner than the previous year, just to see how many people we could end up cooking for.
This year looks like it’s going to be the biggest one yet. We’re looking at around forty people on the guest list, and we’re planning to start prepping the meal three days before we serve it.
There is no ordinary turkey for us. Instead, we make a turducken.
This year is going to be a little different, though. we’re still going to have a massive amount of food and friends, a lot of laughter, and everyone’s going to eat way too much. Who are we to mess with tradition?
We’re starting a new tradition this year, though. This year we’re asking our guests to bring a donation for the Freestore Foodbank in Cincinnati.
The idea came up when we were making plans for this year’s Thanksgiving dinner. We realized we weren’t going to be able to run the race on Thanksgiving morning like we usually do (the race supports Ronald McDonald House in Cincinnati), and we were wondering how we could still support a nonprofit in Cincinnati over Thanksgiving.
So, this year, we’re asking our guests to bring themselves, their families, and a little bit extra to help out the people in Cincinnati who might not be having a big Thanksgiving dinner with their families this year.
Our dinner is a great opportunity for all of us to take some time to think about Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which isn’t very far away. Dr. King’s envisioned a beloved community where people would not stand for their neighbors to be homeless or hungry, where human existence is social and we reach out to our neighbors to come together.
If you’re wondering how you can turn your Thanksgiving dinner into something a little bit bigger, check out the MLK Day Toolkit for some ideas on how to start a conversation about how to address the issues that are affecting your community.
You don’t have to talk about hunger issues, we decided to support a food bank because of the massive amount of food that’s going into one meal, you can talk about kids not having anywhere safe to play in your neighborhood, or how you can help people without a home find a safe place to sleep, or talk about how to support a school where students may not have all of the supplies that they need.
There are a lot of ways that you can start making a change in your neighborhood with your Thanksgiving dinner. It doesn’t have to be a big change, it doesn’t even have to be a move to action. Even the smallest changes start with a conversation about what needs to be done and how you can make that change a reality.
So, in between welcoming family and friends into your home this Thanksgiving, checking that the turkey is done, and watching football, try to take a few minutes to talk about what you and your friends can do to make your community just a little bit better.
Who knows what plans can be made over a second helping of mashed potatoes.