Thanksgiving a time for sharing
Thanksgiving takes on special meaning in this year of national crisis. It is difficult to give thanks when 5,000 of our fellow Americans are dead and the peace we knew three months ago shattered.
Our somber emotional response may seem more appropriate for Memorial Day, but any honest assessment shows we still have much to be thankful for.
We have heard much about how Sept. 11 changed our lives forever, but the majority of us in the Heartland have been spared the most painful consequences from the attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C. For that we should be grateful.
Still, the effects are felt locally.
Jodi Hitchcock, coordinator of the De Soto Multi-Service Center, said she is getting requests for assistance from those hit by layoffs or work slowdowns related to Sept. 11 and others caught up in the slowing economy. She talks of workers in the telecommunications industry and parts suppliers to the airline industry who find themselves laid off or working greatly reduced hours.
The need comes at a time when charities speak of "donor fatigue" after a rush to give in the wake of the Sept. 11 tragedy. Our charitable impulse may have been further dampened by the New York City Relief Fund.
Locally, we can avoid those pitfalls by giving to adopt-a-family programs, toy drives or winter coat campaigns. The canned goods and staples donated to local food drives aren't going to be siphoned into some administrative account. They will go to make the holidays and life better for local families.
We should also remember the roots of Thanksgiving are in sharing. The first of the uniquely American holiday brought Pilgrims and Native Americans together as they pooled their resources to celebrate the summer's bounty.