Reflections on Gratitude, Service: Words from a Community Lodgings Volunteer

As the holiday season nears, many of us prepare for the traditions we’ve grown to love. Whether it be spending the entire day cooking with your family on Thanksgiving, decorating gingerbread houses with friends, or even just sharing stories around the fire on a chilly day–the season is filled with reasons to smile.

However, these holiday “normalities” are anything but normal for a sizable population of Alexandria. For those less fortunate, Thanksgiving and Christmas signal not a bounty of family, friends and food, but a stark reminder of loss and difficulties to overcome.

This presents a wonderful opportunity to weave into our traditions — volunteering.

Truth is, stepping away from the table, the fireplace, and our holiday comforts can be one of the best gifts we can give not only to others, but also to ourselves. It all begins with setting aside time to volunteer. From there, the possibilities in our city are endless. Helping provide needed food, supplies, and companionship is more rewarding than even  the most monumental portion of turkey and mashed potatoes.

Aiding another person or family to have the same chance for a joyful holiday embodies the concept of holiday cheer. What’s even better? Giving back elevates our own mood, and it has a ripple effect of encouraging others to do the same. At a time when it seems our differences often are being over-emphasized, let’s use this Thanksgiving as a time to remember the bonds that connect us all. We all, no matter who we are, need help at some time in our lives.

Thanksgiving is a holiday expressly devoted to expressing gratitude. There is no better way to show this thankfulness than to give someone else the opportunity to do the same.

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About the author:  

Although I have only worked with Community Lodgings for a short time (since summertime), I feel so connected to this organization that is trying to bring about so much positive change to my community. Their dedication and passion is inspiring, and I encourage you all to come in and volunteer! — Jacqueline O.

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