Thanksgiving is four days away! It’s a time for unusual abundance and tradition, with food nearly spilling off the sides of tables and soon-to-be ballooning stomachs. Yes, we Americans are fantastic at recognizing those we care about on this national holiday.
There’s a special energy around this day, as it tells us to be thankful for what we have and share with others. These are the most humble, honorable thoughts you can have, and they directly affect everyone around us. It’s kindergarten all over again — share your toys and candies. But we needn’t make this a brief aside in our otherwise short and busy lives.
This day can inspire us to act, change, and provide for those who need help most. Last year I wrote about 3 charities you should consider supporting in this day of thanks. I have a brand new list this year!
The following are 4 charities for Thanksgiving that I’ll be donating to:
1. Doctors Without Borders
A couple years ago I watched a brilliant documentary entitled Living in Emergency. This soul-crushing film captured the difficult and dangerous world of war-torn countries. And there are a select few helpers — non-violent humanitarians — that run towards these struggles and help the suffering people of these countries.
Doctors Without Borders has a history of exceptional success and medical advocacy for those most in need — internationally. They are mostly active in African states and failed nations, and I’m happy to be supporting this organization this year.
Donate here: http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/
2. Wounded Warrior Project
I have had the fortunate opportunity to work with a deluge of veterans recently. I’m immensely honored by their service and dedication. There are various organizations and charities that provide support, but none has reached vets quite like the Wounded Warrior Project.
The WWP aims to help vets return to civilian life by approaching solutions that are both education-related and emotionally supportive. This strikes a powerful balance that’s necessary to help vets recover. We owe it to these heroes that served — regardless of the political turmoil that surrounded the decisions to put these men and women in harms way.
Donate here: http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/
3. The Always Remember Never Surrender Endowment
About four to five years ago, I was deeply affected by suicide. A resident of mine in a college residence hall died by suicide, and I have been forever changed by this event.
To honor this man’s life and provide an outlet for suicide prevention, I created the Always Remember Never Surrender Scholarship Endowment. Now, around 4 years into fundraising and giving, the endowment has raised nearly $35,000. Each year, that money goes to undergraduate students looking to reduce stigma, create research, and/or provide services for those suffering from thoughts of suicide.
Donate here: https://advancing.colostate.edu/ARNS
4. Shelter House of Iowa City
This year I’m working in a homeless shelter for my counseling psychology doctoral degree. Before this experience, I thought I understood the “facts” about homelessness. I thought I was understanding and empathetic to the plight of those with less. But being here, seeing their faces, and hearing their stories, I’ve been activated more than ever.
We need to make more of a fuss about how we treat those with the least. We need to stand up for them and support their educations, basic shelter needs, and respect the diversity of mental health functioning within this population. Shelter House provides a wealth of services to the homeless in my community, and I’m happy to be able to donate to help them this year.