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.


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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Ambassador Reflections: The Power of Literature… and Generosity

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Ambassador Reflections: “Giving Back is a Principle We Live By”

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Community Lodgings and HomeAid Partner to Renovate Housing Units

         Alexandria, Va. – Sept. 19, 2017 – Formerly homeless families now have newly upgraded residences in the City of Alexandria, following the completion of renovations to a Community Lodgings multi-unit supportive housing property led by HomeAid Northern Virginia (HANV). An onsite “learning center” was also upgraded, enabling families to take advantage… Continue Reading

Ambassador Reflections – Helping Where We Can

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Ambassador Reflections – Shaping My Goals through Community Lodgings

My name is Glancy Rosales and I am originally from Guatemala. I was eleven years old when I migrated to the United States, partly because my parents thought we (myself, my brother and my older sister) would have better educational opportunities in this country. I was first enrolled at George Mason Elementary school, and my… Continue Reading

Ambassador Reflections – Why One Home Makes a Difference

  When Community Lodgings re-opens six affordable housing apartments after an extensive renovation, they added a bonus: The renovation included adding one additional two-bedroom unit at their 607 Notabene Drive property. In a city where 14,000 households qualify for but are unable to attain affordable housing what difference does one more apartment make? Plenty, said… Continue Reading

Ambassador Reflections – Six Questions with Councilman Justin Wilson

City Council member Justin Wilson has served on Alexandria’s city council for seven years – first in 2007, then continuously since 2012. He and his family live in Alexandria, where he also works for Amtrak. Justin recently answered six questions about Community Lodgings: What attracted you to Community Lodgings?  The longevity of the commitment to… Continue Reading

Ambassador Reflections – From a Volunteer’s View

By Holly Herman My name is Holly Herman.  I’ve been a periodic speaker/trainer for the last four years, sharing my experience as an Executive Coach. I was attracted to Community Lodgings by the work they do.  Community Lodgings is doing work that directly meets the needs of the community.  The afterschool programs for the children… Continue Reading

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