copyright Charles M. Schultz

More than football and children’s paper turkey crafts, Thanksgiving is an expression of gratitude and thanks. It marks the beginning of the Holiday Season, a time of year when people gather and travel to spend time with loved ones reliving traditions, sharing meals and exchanging gifts. It is a season of heightened recognition for those in need, community support and giving back.

   

While many of us are accustomed to grandma’s mashed potatoes and mom’s pie, Thanksgiving dinner for some is not always guaranteed. Throughout the state, there are soup kitchens to provide warm meals for those who may otherwise go without. Other communities have programs like Compassionate Feast which is hosted by the Old Town Commercial Association in Lansing. In its 12th year, Compassionate Feast is a community-driven, volunteer event that raises money and food contributions to provide all of the ingredients needed to make a complete Thanksgiving dinner for themselves in their own home. This year, 163 families under the federal poverty line were helped in some way. “Team Marshmallow” (CEDAM) and “Team Cranberry” (Great Lakes Capital Fund) were two of dozens of contributors and volunteers that will ensure that families in need have the opportunity to make their own memories with their families.

This weekend is also traditionally the biggest shopping weekend of the year with unbeatable deals and holiday gift buying preparation. Small Business Saturday (SBS) is the Saturday in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday and is a nationwide effort to support those businesses and shops that are in our communities. This year, SBS is on November 24. We all have that special shop that we love. Remembering to patronize these small businesses helps to invigorate local economies by putting money back into it. The Microenterprise Network of Michigan (MNM), a program of CEDAM, has partnered with SBS and works to connect microbusinesses with resources and branding to promote holiday sales. Please contact Claire Glenn at glenn@cedamichigan.org if you are a microbusiness looking for resources for November 24 and beyond.

Communities and organizations offer a variety of unique programs that create a sense of place, fun and assistance that people anticipate and rely on. What are you doing this holiday season? Email benck@cedamichigan.org

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