The season surrounding Thanksgiving is perhaps my favorite. As family members make plans to visit, we begin preparations for the highlight of the holiday: the Thanksgiving meal. Not only do we make room for our guests during this season, we welcome extra hands ready to perform various tasks. In the kitchen, everyone is given a role. Perhaps an uncle runs to the market to fetch the turkey, a sister boils and mashes the potatoes, or a brother prepares a pie pan for pumpkin filling with the help of mother. Around the Thanksgiving table, everyone has a place and everyone has a job.
The Thanksgiving meal bears a lot of similarity to the high point in Orthodox Christian liturgical worship: the Eucharist. This word comes from the Greek word meaning “thanksgiving,” and is best expressed as the bringing together of many to share in a holy meal. A Eucharistic act—an act of Thanksgiving—is truly recognizing that everything we have is a gift, our gratitude compels us to share what we have with others. In so doing, we receive the invaluable gift of the presence of God and the joyful presence of others. This Eucharistic vision of generous thanksgiving is at the heart of our work at RS. We strive to create an atmosphere where everyone has a place because many of the people that walk through our doors do not have that important sense of belonging.
A couple of months ago, a young man named Thomas came to us needing assistance finding a job. A major barrier to his acquiring employment was the fact that he didn’t possess any form of identification and did not have the $25 to secure it. After completing our digital literacy training program, which gave him the tools necessary to search and apply for a job online, Thomas was able to acquire a state ID through our Document Assistance Program. He then spent weeks applying for jobs online using our internet cafe, and his efforts were rewarded: Thomas accepted employment as a cashier at Home Depot. This Thanksgiving there are so many others like Thomas coming to RS to find a place to belong.
For many within our community like Thomas, RS exists as the only place that offers the kind of love and warmth that surrounds the Thanksgiving meal. Our work to provide that place is only made possible through your gifts.
This Thanksgiving will you consider giving a generous one-time gift of $25, $50, $100 or even more to provide a place of belonging and the hope that so many others need? Your help would mean so much right now. Please join us and all our guests around the table of Thanksgiving by supporting the work of RS with your kind donation!