If your like me, you will be inundated with gifts this holiday season. Everything from things you DON”T want to things you may have never seen before. I know, as I get this from my students each year. I believe strongly however, that while the spirit of receiving is great, as one gets older, I feel the real spirit take hold and the giving part starts to permeate my being. I have great joy in giving, i have found the joy more appealing than for anything I would ever receive. With that in mind, to the real meaning of the holiday season and the true essence of i believe one of the reasons we are all here is to help those less fortunate than ourselves. What a beautiful time of the year to transfer those thoughts to make the lives of those whom are less fortunate than us receive. To give a smile, to make someone hope, to give the essence of all good vibrations and things to those less fortunate is the greatest feeling one can have. i give a very large donation each year to the Atlantic City Rescue Mission that feeds the hungry and downtrodden with Thanksgiving meals. I cannot for one imagine sitting at the Thanksgiving Day feast to indulge upon the meal and not think about those who don’t have. Those who have no one, those that have no hope or, no where to go. I feel a tad better knowing that I have tried to give at least a few people in this situation some ray of hope, a good meal, and less worry and troubles for at least a portion of the day. And so, if any of you feel the pangs of benefiting others in your community, here are a few ideas. Food in my opinion is the most fundamental way to show you care. Maybe consider serving a warm meal to those less fortunate. You could prepare the meal at home and deliver to a sick or elderly neighbor. maybe invite a colleague or friend who doesn’t have family to your home for a holiday meal, or, volunteering in a food pantry to serve a meal to other members of the community. If this is not an option, maybe look for a canned food drive near you and pick up some extra groceries to donate. Give access to safe water. Due to contaminants in drinking water, safe water to drink is not always an option for many people. The LifeStraw water filtration product helps reduce plastic waste by providing an alternative to single use bottles, you will be making a difference. In addition, by using this system, one child in a community receives safe drinking water for an entire school year. LifeStraw provided it’s one millionth child with safe drinking water in Kenya in 2018. Lastly, give the most precious commodity. Give LIFE!! Donating blood can save a life. Make an appointment at a local blood bank. Being a registered organ donor is another life saver. Imagine someone else living on with life because of what you gave them. So, before you string up the lights, and throw on the tinsel, make an effort to look around and see what you have and maybe give a thought to giving to a less fortunate person the gifts fore mentioned. One Thanksgiving, I gave up my day to help in the church preparing meals and serving the less fortunate. While I was disappointed in giving up my TRADITIONAL DAY!! I soon felt a bonding and understood the plight of those people who came for the meals. They were tired, poorly dressed but filled with an expression of joy and gratitude for what we had done. As I mingled and got to know them and learned of their plight in life, I quickly realized that we are about helping those less fortunate. As I drove home, I smiled through the thoughts of what had occurred earlier that day, then, I went to bed my soul fulfilled upon the notion that I was able to help someone. To reach to them, to take the time to learn and talk with them, then, I knew that no matter how slight the moment was. I was able to spread a little compassion, hope and fulfillment and with that, went to bed knowing that it was a cherished moment in my life. Take a moment and look beyond your material things, your money, your beautiful home and think about how you can give even for the moment, a gift of hope. You will feel like you won the lottery in your heart!