Even in a pandemic there’s a lot to be grateful for
While everyone’s holiday gatherings this year probably don’t much resemble what we are all used to, I’ve been heartened to see so many folks cobbling together what celebrations they can, making the best of things with a patchwork of socially distant, outdoor, or online get togethers.
My husband and I celebrated at our home with just the two of us and a full table of tasty eats and equally tasty wine. We toasted to our happy and lucky life together, and counted the blessings of having such an abundance of lovely friends and family and that, even though we decided to stay apart to keep us all safe, we hope to make up for in spades in 2021!
With a full belly and grateful heart, wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Celebrating Independence Day in 2020 (the year currently favored to take home the award in the Most Apocalyptic Year Ever category) will likely be a little different than what we are typically used to, but I reckon we will still celebrate our nation’s birth in whatever socially distant, limited size and face-masked capacity we can. Just be safe, y’all — and smart — and remember we are all in this together. Let’s celebrate how we can today, with an eye toward really blowing it out in 2021! We just have to get there…
Because everyone deserves turkey and respect
For 24 years JB Goodwin REALTORS has been a big part of the volunteer crew serving Thanksgiving lunch at the Salvation Army. I was so happy to have been involved again this year after having missed last year.
The Salvation Army’s Downtown Austin shelter feeds and houses hundreds of folks in need every day, including women and young children. Additionally, at Thanksgiving they offer a sit-down holiday meal to their residents and to the homeless community at large, serving up some delicious homestyle cooking and turning no one away.
For Thanksgiving, guests are greeted at the door to the dining room and escorted to an open spot at any of the round tables. There is a place for them to put down their bedrolls and backpacks if the wish to, and then they are served by a host of volunteers rather than queuing a the counter to grab a tray for themselves as would be the case on other days of the year. The S.A. staff and volunteers try to make the experience as warm and “normal” (if you will) as possible, shaking hands, chatting with the guests, and refilling glasses. The tables are dressed up with fall centerpieces and place mats hand drawn by some of the children. That’s not a huge thing, but it’s a lovely little touch. I overheard one woman asking if she could take her place mat with her so she could show it to her son.
Meeting and serving the guests was a real honor for me, and I don’t mean to come across as overly pious by saying that. It’s just that I imagine that for people who are experiencing homelessness, their day to day life is probably not overfilled with opportunities to sit down, relax, and enjoy a little conversation while being properly waited on. In addition to the obvious benefit of a nice hot meal, I have to believe that even a short respite from the indignities of being a street person — either ignored or looked upon with suspicion or disdain — and instead being shown respect and treated with decency and caring has got to be affecting for them. And I’m truly honored to be a part of that.
As I’ve mentioned previously, if you’re looking for a place where your charitable donations will have the greatest impact — during the holiday season or at any other time of year — I’d like to make a plea for the Salvation Army. You can donate your time, money or supply stuff from their list of items they are in need of. Approximately 83% of the money they take in goes directly to benefit the individuals and families they serve in Travis and Williamson counties, plus 100% of every dollar donated for disaster relief goes to help survivors and first responders.
Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!