I love it once mid-November rolls around. People actually start caring about each other and acting upon it. Ok, it should happen all year long, of course, but some is better than none, I guess.
The other day a local news channel did a story about how food and money donations at the local food banks was horrifically low, so low that Thanksgiving turkeys were either in short supply or non-existent; at one major food bank in Oakland they were handing out Thanksgiving chickens. To put it mildly, it didn't sound right.
Now, I personally am not much for the Mission band of Indians; they have a chokehold on the Indian casinos in this state, and have a reputation of touting all the wonders they do with the hard-earned cash of gamblers. Someone I know has said on numerous occasions that they exploit gamblers, and don't give nearly enough of a percentage back to the state, or to the other tribes; indeed, there are various rumors that they don't give up their fair share of earnings to the other various tribes in the state, in accordance with the pact that they negotiated with the state. My cynical mind goes into overdrive with them.
But I have to give them and Costco credit on this one. They saw the newspiece on the food banks, and made a massive donation. 200 turkeys, plus money for another 200 more, to that one Oakland food bank, plus other food banks are receiving donations, too, thanks to the attention paid to their shortage.
The best comment came from someone in the video picking up his turkey meal...he was close to tears, enormously grateful for the generosity of others. His family would have a reltaively normal Thanksgiving, despite his being out of work. 'Tis the season of giving.
I got paid today (it's the last working day of the month), and did my usual 1 Dec. donations. I have a list of them, including the local food banks. It's a tradition, where I save up after summer expenditures and start my donation season early. Oh, it's never much...a few bucks here and there. I don't have many on my list, but I know that so many of these non-profits need help, and in particular in a year like this.
A student yesterday commented at how many calls and notices she's received from charities--quite a few, more than usual, she says. Her main comment was along the lines of, "why can't these people leave me alone? Don't they know that in this economy no one has money to spare???" I just let that one go.
Among the things this year that I'm thankful for (or, what I'm continually thankful for):
- I'm alive, with all parts in working order, living in a society which allows me the freedom to do and say as I pretty much please;
- My family and friends are not only alive and well, but all with jobs and all with finances in order;
- My colleagues at work who not only find it their duty to inform us of what's going on with budget issues, but give us options and multiple scenarios whenever possible (even if the bleeping legislature doesn't). It seems that everyone is working triple-overtime to make sure that as few people as possible are to be affected by the mandatory budget cuts, as ordered by the state;
- My students, who continuously give me the energy and the ganas* to want to work; and
- The ability to continue my adventures, and the avenues to continue my lifelong learning journey.
Whether or not you celebrate a "Thanksgiving" holiday, I wish you the best for the future, and hope for nothing but good fortune for you.
*ganas doesn't have a great translation--in Spanish, it more or less means 'gumption', but it's more than that. It's that every fiber of your being wants (or doesn't) something.