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CASSANDRA JENKINS — Give thanks by giving back

I’m a foodie, so naturally Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.

I love home-cooked, slowly baked turkey. I love the candied yams, smashed cranberries, buttery rolls, gravy, apple cider and sweet pumpkin pie.

As a new college graduate, and busy reporter who mostly eats fast food in her car on the go, I can easily forget that the season isn’t just about stuffing my face with unprocessed food for hours straight.

In the throngs of the holiday season, it can be easy to forget what we are celebrating for. I know I’m guilty of it, but Tuesday in a room full of people both older and younger than me, I was reminded of exactly what Thanksgiving is all about.

I visited Some Other Place, a non-profit organization in Beaumont, Tuesday morning to interview members of the Port Neches-Groves High School Key Club. The students were up early on their week off organizing and handing out food to the towns less fortunate community.

There were rows of cake boxes, cans of fruit, vegetables, fresh potatoes, celery, condensed milk, butter, eggs and everything in between. All around the room students, adults and volunteers were assisting people up and down the makeshift aisles pick out their food for a Thanksgiving meal that they may not have been able to have otherwise.

As I listened to the Key Club sponsor speak of how proud he was of his son, who was lugging bags of groceries to cars waiting outside without complaint and hear teenagers barely 17 years old talk of how humbling the experience was, I couldn’t help but look around and realize something I had forgotten — the importance of giving back.

Every single person in that room could have been sleeping in on a rainy day or home with their own families, but instead they were giving something to a community that could give them nothing in return. Yet, there wasn’t a single frown to be seen or complaint to be heard.

So remember when we’re all eating our Thanksgiving meals Thursday that it isn’t just a holiday for stuffing our faces but a day to be thankful for all that we have when others do not. Thanksgiving is a day to give some of those blessings to others who may need it, whether it’s dropping a box of surplus food off to a hospitality center, gathering coats and jackets to take to a shelter, or simply offering a kind word to someone who needs to hear that it will be OK.

Just remember, give thanks by giving back, even if it’s all you have.

 Cassandra Jenkins is a reporter for The Port Arthur News. She can be reached at cassie.jenkins@panews.com.