Consider the ‘giving’ part of Thanksgiving traditions

Thanksgiving is celebrated in many ways. Thousands of Mid-Columbians will be up and running this morning — literally — in the Red Cross Turkey Trot. Some look forward to the day’s football schedule or the Macy’s parade. Many people will spend all day preparing a meal to share with people they love — and we suspect those loved ones will pitch in with the cleanup afterward. Yes, that’s a not-so-subtle reminder.

Whatever way you celebrate, it’s a day for family and friends and gratitude. It’s a holiday that gives us a chance to pause and reflect.

There are many ways to give thanks and many reasons to do so. Today is a great day to make a phone call or write a letter. We typically see an uptick in our Thankful Thursday letters in December. People like to show their appreciation, often by paying it forward.

So let us plant a little seed in your heart and mind on this Thanksgiving Day.

We use this space every Thursday to express “thanks.” Today we’re grateful to be able to focus on the “giving.”

Last year the Tri-City Herald created a series of Holiday Wish Lists that blessed the lives of many people in the Mid-Columbia. And we’re doing it again this year.

During the month we will profile different nonprofit organizations and list their needs. Some will include specific items, others need money or volunteers. In any case, it’s almost certain that over the course of the month, your resources, as limited or vast as they are, will line up with a charity’s needs.

There are a lot of good causes around, but this is an especially rewarding way to give because you know your gift goes to a specific need and it helps in our community.

Last year’s lists were well received by the community and many, many wishes were granted.

For example, the Children’s Reading Foundation received books, 100 people signed on as members of the Franklin County Historical Museum to provide financial support and a $3,000 donation was given to the Cavalcade of Authors. An anonymous donor worked through the Three Rivers Community Foundation to provide a van for the Edith Bishel Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Another anonymous donor worked through the foundation to provide $10,000 to the Children’s Developmental Center. And the list goes on with gifts large and small.

Our first story this year highlights Project Warm-up, which makes hats and other warm items for the needy. More than 1,800 skeins of yarn were donated to the group after last year’s story.

We’re looking forward to seeing this year’s lists.