[R76] Rep. McNamara: A Time to be Thankful (11/21/2012)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Start Date: 11/21/2012 Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 11/21/2012 End Time: 11:59 PM
A Time to be Thankful

Since our nation’s inception, colonists celebrated an autumn feast, later being recognized as Thanksgiving Day. The history of Thanksgiving celebrations has been traced back as far as 1621 when Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared their harvests in November. It was in our nation’s earliest hour that we recognized the simple importance of being thankful for what we have and sharing it with others. 

It was not until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day. The importance of family values and civility was never lost as our leaders had a vision of our nation’s greatness and unbreakable bond as one nation under God. It is times such as these that have put America at a crossroads, and it is leaders like President Lincoln that have steered our nation from ruin. 

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because of all of the history surrounding its celebration, but most importantly, it is about spending quality time with my family. I will be travelling to my parent’s place this year to spend the holiday with them – a time I truly cherish and love. It is always a warming occasion to see them and reminisce about the “old days”. This year is especially significant as my father just turned 80 years old, so I am sure it will be a celebration to remember.

Unfortunately, the holiday season is not the same for every Hoosier, especially those in need of basic amenities. The holiday season can serve as a reminder of the struggles to make ends meet. Thankfully, there are numerous non-profit organizations that strive to make this time of year memorable for every Hoosier and their family. Volunteering your time at a soup kitchen, collecting or giving cans for food drives or even donating money to these organizations can go a long way to brighten someone’s holiday season.

The Southwestern Indiana Regional Council on Aging (SWIRCA) is an agency dedicated to enhancing the lives of both elderly and disabled residents in Southwest Indiana. SWIRCA is a designation of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration which helps plan and coordinate a system of services for elderly Hoosiers and disabled Hoosiers of all ages across Indiana.

This year, SWIRCA will serve over 1500 Thanksgiving lunches at 26 meal sites in Perry, Warrick, Posey, Spencer, Gibson and Vanderburgh counties. Hundreds of Hoosiers attend the Thanksgiving events put on by SWIRCA each year to enjoy food and fellowship as they celebrate the spirit of the holiday.

The Mount Vernon Food Pantry and the Tri-State Food Bank are also great organizations that are dedicated to serving Hoosiers every day, especially on Thanksgiving. These organizations do a great job of meeting our region’s needs, but they could always use more volunteers willing to donate their food, time or money.

I encourage everyone to find a way to spend a little time helping those in need this holiday season. Even the smallest of gestures can go a long way to make a significant difference in someone else’s life.