Food is an important part of our family. We grow it. We enjoy making meals from scratch. We enjoy dinnertime, especially on the rare occasions we can all sit down together. Even in our toughest times, we made nutritious food a priority. Thanksgiving reminds us that we’re grateful to be able to say that.
For us, it’s important to know where our food comes from and waste as little as possible. We save vegetable scraps to make stock later. We compost for our garden. I want my son growing up knowing we’re grateful to have what we do. I want him to understand that not everyone has food on the table, and more kids go to school hungry than we realize. I want him to know that’s why we help others. If we have something that others do not and they need it, then it’s up to us to help.
Poverty and wealth distinctions are all around us. This means the homeless person on the street corner my son just asked me about, or maybe a neighborhood family using the food bank. This means the successful CEO or doctor on the way to work and everyone in between. Contrary to what our bank accounts or grocery carts show, no one is less than anyone else. Food is a necessity for all of us.
While my son is young, he helps us donate food. We pick out non-perishable items to give so someone else’s holiday meal is filled with good food. (For a fantastic resource on how to choose the best foods for donation, read this.) He also helps us prepare our Thanksgiving meal, with the attention span of a gold fish, but it still counts.
When he’s a little older, I want us to volunteer serving holiday meals with a local community group or church. I believe that serving others is one of the best gifts we can give to them and ourselves. Humility, compassion, and deep empathy are key attributes I would love to pass onto my son. There are so many people different from us in the world, even just down the street. But we’re all the same inside and each deserving of love and understanding. We each have basic needs and food is at the bottom of the pyramid. Serving others the food they need with a genuine smile, especially on a holiday that might be lonely for them, is truly a beautiful thing.
I am thankful that we can sit down as a family to eat a plant-based, compassionate meal on Thanksgiving. We’re happy to have the food we need and to make it with our loving family this Thanksgiving. Just acknowledging others don’t have the food they need isn’t enough. We need to do something to make their holiday a little brighter and give back. You might be surprised what your children learn or how it makes your soul smile.
How do you help others for their holiday meal? What are your favorite local resources?