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Giving Thanks and Giving Back

Usually, when I sit down to write for this blog, I take the subject that I have decided to write about and jot down various words and phrases that come to mind that may be useful. Then, I take those words and phrases and try to weave them together into the message that I want to convey.

This month, I got stuck on the idea of traditions that surround giving thanks at the Thanksgiving holiday and how some of those traditions may relate to the aspect of giving back to the community.

Generally speaking, the modern Thanksgiving holiday traces its origins from a 1621 celebration at the Plymouth Plantation, where the Plymouth settlers held a harvest feast after a successful growing season. This was continued in later years, first as an impromptu religious observance and later as a civil tradition. As traditions have evolved, Thanksgiving has become an occasion where family and friends gather to give thanks for health, good fortune, the opportunity to be together, to share in the Thanksgiving feast (and the resulting food coma), football games and parades.

But there is also the Thanksgiving tradition of helping others – of giving back – that truly reveals itself during this season of giving thanks. Theodore Roosevelt wrote “Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.”

And so, in this season of giving thanks and giving back, let’s take some time to give thanks to some of those who generously give back in our community:

– Volunteers – where would we be without you? Volunteers are the backbone of so many of our community organizations. If you ever want to volunteer some of your time, there is always a place for you!

– Donors big and small. I have never heard of a donation being too big or too small. Any and all donations are appreciated by their recipients, especially at this time when the search for funding is more difficult than it has been in the past.

– For those who have made donations to the Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund held at the Sonora Area Foundation, thank you for helping to “pay it forward.” Even though those donations will be helping out on the East Coast, we know from our local experiences with fires and floods that we may need the assistance someday.

Keep an eye out for our Fall newsletter, which celebrates how individuals and organizations continue to give back in our community. We give thanks to all of those profiled in our newsletter, as well as all of you who give back on a regular basis. The newsletter provides an opportunity for “Giving Back in Tuolumne County” for which your community will be very thankful!