A while ago, I posted that I was going to "pay it forward" this month, literally. I don't live a charmed life, but I have TONS to be thankful for. I found it harder than I thought to pick one charity a week to support. Four great causes? Just four? Oh, my! There are SO many! But in the end, this is what I ended up doing...
Week 1 - The Food Bank. This was a no brainer. I donate to the food bank a few of times a year (both by the way of actual goods and financial support). I am thankful for the food my family has and hope that my contribution helped others who may not otherwise have had something to eat during this holiday time.
Week 2 - Toys for Tots. It is getting harder and harder to separate Thanksgiving and Christmas. It seems like the two have morphed into one (Harry Thanksmas!) The stores, the ads, the mail....it seems that we are bombarded by Christmas as soon as the back-to-school displays are put away. By Thanksgiving, it's full on Christmas EVERYWHERE! My kids aren't "little" anymore. So those doll buying, perfect-toy-seeking days are over for me. It pulls at my heart strings to imagine a child without any gifts at Christmas time. Toys for Tots is a great program that makes kids' Christmas dreams come true. So even though it was too early for ME to think about Christmas, I happily supported them this month :)
Week 3 - The Tomorrow Fund and Make-A-Wish. These charities support making wishes come true for critically ill children. I am so thankful my children are healthy. Knowing that can change in an instant is sobering. My cousin was diagnosed with cancer when she was a teenager. We almost lost her. Charities like this were there for her when she started on the long road to recovery. After giving it lots of thought, I feel that paying it forward gives other families a chance to have something positive happen during some of the darkest days any family can have.
Week 3 - Woman's Shelter. I am thankful for a safe haven to call home. I am thankful for a supportive husband who thinks to world of our kids. As a teacher, I see all kinds of family situations. I am thankful there are places for women and children who don't have those things. Women who take their children and leave their situations with nothing but the clothes on their backs; women who choose to live in their cars, rather than go "home"; women who need help getting back on their feet so they can make a better life for themselves and their kids.
So that's it. In a nutshell, I am simply thankful for the basic things in life. It is hard to express thanks for everything that is good, especially when it seems to come at the expense of what others don't have, so this month has been a nice way to show my appreciation and gratitude while hopefully helping someone else.