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SCVNews.com | Opinion/Commentary: Learning the Value and Joy of Giving Back | 11-17-2012
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Commentary by Jennifer Fischer
| Saturday, Nov 17, 2012

Organizers of the 2012 Community Thanksgiving Dinner in Old Town Newhall are anticipating a crowd to rival last year's.

We started a new family tradition last Thanksgiving, and we look forward to continuing it this year.

Before heading over to stuff ourselves silly with delicious food at the home of some friends, we swung by the Newhall Bicycle Co. to help out at their major Community Thanksgiving Dinner and drop of several pounds of apples, oranges and bananas.

The Newhall Bicycle Co. event is no average Thanksgiving dinner. Not only do they feed hundreds of people (actually they fed around 2,000 people last year and expect just as many, if not more, this year), but they also have toys and clothing available for families to take. It is an event that makes me proud of our local community.

You might think being at this event meant sacrificing family time, but we discovered that taking part in this event was a wonderful way to enjoy family time. Since our children were 4 months and 2 years old last year, we did not sign up for an actual volunteer shift. But my oldest was all too eager and happy to help pick up trash and clear tables – and the sight of him doing so brought smiles to many faces.

For little ones, formal community service is not really an option. However, teaching little ones to care for others and their community is simple. Our new Thanksgiving tradition has proven to be a great way for our little ones to learn the value – and joy – of giving back to our community. I am excited that this year, baby brother will be able to help out a bit, too. (For more of my thoughts on community service and little ones, click [here].)

If you want to help out with this great event, the major thing Newhall Bicycle Co. still needs is prepared food. Please consider making an extra pie, ham, traditional Thanksgiving side dish or fruit salad, or picking up an already prepared turkey to drop off on Main Street Thanksgiving morning. Your support will be greatly appreciated.

Never too young to start learning the value of charity.

If you are inspired or interested in giving this holiday season but are not able to attend this event, remember that it is easy to help out anytime. Help the Children and the SCV Food Pantry can always use food donations. Even here in the Santa Clarita Valley, cooler temperatures mean rising heating costs for families that are already struggling. (Who wants to have to choose between heat and food for their family?) Organizations serving those in need are stretched to capacity. For far too many – 16 million children in the United States – having any meal on Thanksgiving or Christmas is an uncertainty.

I do not want to dampen your spirit. Rather I hope to encourage you to embrace, as a family, the true spirit of giving. Soak up those extra minutes with your loved ones and consider seeing who in our community needs a helping hand.

In September, inspired by Hunger Action Month and No Kid Hungry, I joined together with bloggers (from around the world actually) to create a collective effort we call Moms Fighting Hunger. On my blog, in the September archives, you will find several posts about the ways in which moms and kids – and dads and others – got involved during Hunger Action Month.

I hope you are inspired to consider the best ways for your family to get involved this year. If you do not do so already, why not start your own family tradition that involves giving back to our community?  And be on the look out for details about Toys for Tots drop-off locations, which is another great way to give back.

Visit Newhall Bicycle Co. on the web [here], and connect with Moms Fighting hunger [here].

 

Jennifer Fischer is co-founder of the SCV Film Festival, a mom of two, an independent filmmaker and owner of Think Ten Media Group, whose Generation Arts division offers programs for SCV youth. She writes about her parenting journey on her blog, The Good Long Road. Her commentary is published Saturdays on SCVNews.com.

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1 Comment

  1. JDaniel4's Mom says:

    What a wonderful way to show your children how to give!

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