I recently made a career shift out of environmental endeavors to focusing on our community’s youth through the Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii has brought me full-circle to a degree. Some would say it’s fortunate that I don’t interact with our Clubhouse members everyday – and hey, that hurts! I’ve enjoyed expanding my exposure to another of our community’s needs and have been impressed with the scope of services and programs we offer to our Clubhouse kids. This is not a pitch for the Boys & Girls Club (but feel free to make a tax-deductible gift now at www.bgch.com).
Some of our Clubhouse members are youth who may otherwise not have access to guidance and nurturing from compassionate adults. Many of us would take that for granted. Like many of you I was raised by a caring mother and father. I was always supported by my parents and my extended family who set expectations for me and served as role models – granted the examples they set varied from superb to sub-par.
One basic example my family set was to provide a feast for Thanksgiving which I surely took for granted. I always had a turkey (albeit dry, Mom!) and Dads special “turkey eggs” on Thanksgiving. We feasted every year with family and friends. That’s not to say that period of my life was easy. There was a time from age 5 until I was about 12 we were poor and welfare dependents living on Government cheese and eggs – so many eggs – but I NEVER had hot dogs for Thanksgiving. Hot dogs? Read on.
I was probably 14 when I was at the supermarket picking up something for our family’s Thanksgiving feast. As I wandered the aisles I came across two girls – about my age and in very rough attire, obviously destitute – but they were ecstatic because it was Thanksgiving! Oddly, they didn’t have a cart full of all the fixins’ for their feast. Instead they were holding a pack of hot dogs – turkey dogs – and they were excitedly talking about the hot dogs because turkey was part of their Thanksgiving – like the rest of us, I guess. For so long I had forgotten that day and that awful memory and it shook me to remember that day and that moment where a “poor” kid like me still had so much more than others. #gutpunch
As Thanksgiving nears I have so much to be thankful for: friends, two faithful dogs, family, health, wealth – I have it really really good and I hope you’ll take a moment to be grateful and share your gratitude and support others who need it most. Oh and if you’re stressed by the holidays – how fortunate you are to have the stress of your family and the coordination of preparation a big meal! What a fortune to have family and friends around you.
This Thanksgiving I’m making a gift to a family I know who needs the help and another who I will likely never know but who will have more than turkey dogs for Thanksgiving. You can help today: www.hawaiifoodbank.org or in Colorado http://gunnisoncountryfoodpantry.org/.
Anthony Poponi is a comic, improv artist, brain chemistry nerd and community-minded advocate and owner of Humore.us. He’s brings his love of connection and laughter to audiences as keynote, emcee, workshop host or moderator and his mission is to increase laughter and connectivity to combat the human health crises of isolation and disconnection.