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Putting the give in Thanksgiving

Come Thursday, Nov. 22, Americans from near and far will celebrate Thanksgiving. There are so many things to appreciate, especially by those who are fortunate enough to enjoy the many pieces that make up a full and complete life.

All one needs is a little perspective to realize how lucky they are, and how much they have for which to be thankful. This year it’s especially important, considering the devastation so many of our friends and neighbors to the south are experiencing in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Most of those living in our communities have a safe home, warm meals, fresh water, clothing and hopefully, loving families. So, too, did many of the victims of Sandy just three weeks ago. But sadly, that is not necessarily the case today. Residents from Long Island, New York City, New Jersey and Connecticut have suffered greatly at Mother Nature’s hand — much of what they had has been ripped from their lives, in some cases even their loved ones are now gone.

How can anyone who is safe and whole, considering the hardships others have been forced to face, not express gratitude for their good fortune? If doing so often escapes your daily routine, whether because life is busy and chaotic or simply because no thought is put into the matter, why not take a moment now to say a silent thank you? Gratitude is an important part of life. Being thankful for what one has, rather than resentful for what one doesn’t, is one of the keys to finding peace.

There are others, like compassion and humanity. To help propel that universal positive energy, consider lending a hand this season to those who are less fortunate. For starters, there are countless collections and drives for food, clothing and financial support to help the storm victims. There are also local food banks that need donations and volunteers, year round. There are shelters that need people to lend a hand and clothing and toy drives that need support, especially around the holidays.

This is the perfect season to get into the spirit of giving. Learn to appreciate what you’ve got and better yet, how to pass it on to others. Make those the lessons discussed around the Thanksgiving table — the ones that become tradition in your family for years to come.