As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, we reflect on what has been a financially tumultuous year for families and individuals across America.
Watching financial markets collapse and bank accounts shrink taught us that wealth has nothing to do with money. Being rich means having a network of family and friends to depend on in times of hardship. Having wealth means being able to rely on faith and community. If you can count these among your blessings, you have much to be thankful for this year.
This season reminds us that despite our struggles, there remain others who need help now more than ever. So many of our neighbors are hurting and don’t have anyone to turn to for help. Times of such widespread hardship call for us to give more than a moment or two of thanks. These days, simple acts of charity are the greatest gifts you can give.
Many families and individuals across our state are in need of a helping hand this year. Think of the thousands of Georgians who were victims of the torrential flooding in September.
Many won’t be able to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal in their own home this year.
Though the news coverage has ceased, the victims still need our help.
The Atlanta Community Food Bank is accepting Flood Relief Food Donations (www.acfb.org), United Way has established a Disaster Relief Fund (www.unitedwayatlanta.org) and donations to the Georgia National Guard Family Support Foundation will provide flood assistance to members of the Georgia National Guard and their families ( www.georgiaguardfamily.org).
Think of these and other families of military servicemen and women who will spend Thanksgiving worrying for their loved one’s safety.
Military families serve our country alongside their soldiers through sacrifice, bravery, faith and pride. Find a military family in your community who needs support this Thanksgiving. Help them prepare a meal, assist with housework or simply join them in praying for the safe return of their loved one. Thank them for their service. Donations are also accepted by Georgia National Guard Family Support Foundation through their Web site.
Finally, think of those who wander our streets alone, sleeping in cars or abandoned buildings. Without soup kitchens or homeless shelters, those without a home or family might not even have a meal on Thanksgiving. The volunteers of these programs provide much more than assistance; they give the homeless a family with which to share the holiday.
Find one of the many homeless shelters or soup kitchens in the North Georgia area and spread some holiday cheer to those who need it most.
Though many of us are subsisting on less this year, it’s still important to give something of ourselves to those less fortunate.
This year has marked the most financially stressful time in recent memory. It is only with the love and support of family, neighbors and our community that we can hope to survive the difficult times.
This year, give thanks for the people who offer you strength and encouragement, and give someone in need the same support.
I wish you and your family a safe and blessed Thanksgiving holiday.
Sen. Chip Pearson serves as chairman of the Economic Development Committee. He represents the 51st Senate District, which includes Dawson, Fannin, Gilmer, Lumpkin, Pickens and Union counties and portions of Forsyth and White counties. He may be reached at (404) 656-9921 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.