Pondering Thanksgiving In a World of Needs

Friday, November 16, 2018

Thanksgiving is on my mind as I sit at my desk late this afternoon reflecting on the week to come.  Appreciating the symbolism behind this holiday made me think of the question, “What do I give thanks to God for?”  Gratitude for our lives may be a thought that rises within you.  And, yes it does for me, and for much more.  Yet, I can’t help but think of Daniel, a participant on our conference call meeting this afternoon who shared what it’s like to live 75 miles away from the devastating wild fires raging across northern California.  Smoke and ash fill the air and it’s thick and hazy and difficult to breathe, he said.  Since watching on TV the destruction of this Camp fire that swept through Paradise, CA, I’ve been keeping the people of this town in prayer.  So much loss of life and loss of livelihood and home and belongings!  How does one even begin to cope with all of the loss?  I ask myself what can I possibly do when I live on the other side of the continent.  Wrapping the survivors in prayer and thought is one way.  And donating to organizations that will directly benefit those in need is another.  You may have thought of other ways too.

As you reflect on what you give thanks to God for this Thanksgiving, take a moment to remember all those in need who are without home, family, friends, food, and especially our brothers and sisters on the west coast.  Know I pray for you too.

May God bless you and keep you,

Sr. Pat

If, when you pause to thank God for the many blessings you experience and you find yourself pondering the situation of our brothers and sisters in Paradise, CA, the organizations below may be a way to offer help.

Organizations To Donate To

American Red Cross workers have set up temporary shelters and food sites across California. Donate to the efforts by visiting redcross.org.  Donors can even specifically request their monies go towards California relief efforts by writing the specific disaster name in the memo line of a check made out to the organization.

The CCF Wildfire Relief Fund supports immediate recovery efforts for major California wildfires, as well as long-term preparedness efforts.

The Entertainment Industry Foundation is raising money through its Fire Relief Fund.

Baby2Baby is working to get high-need items to children affected by the ongoing Camp, Hill, and Woolsey fires in California. Help them supply diapers, wipes, blankets, and other basic baby essentials to families in need by purchasing from their registry.

Donate directly to Direct Relief, which helps provide resources to healthcare agencies and first responders in wildfire-affected areas across California. Tito’s Handmade Vodka has pledged to match all donations, up to $15,000 USD.

CNN’s Impact Your World initiative has created a page to collect donations that will go towards supporting seven organizations including The Community Foundation Sonoma County, Convoy of Hope and Direct Relief.

The Firefighters Charitable Foundation accepts donations to support volunteer fire stations and helps wildfire victims.

California Volunteers, a state office that manages volunteer programs in California, has created a list of services and donation options to help victims affected by the Camp, Woolsey, and Hill fires. Use this list to find information about making donations and volunteering.

Airbnb’s Open Home Program facilitates connecting those displaced by natural disaster with people who can open up their homes in the area. The accommodations are free. So far, over 700 homes have been opened to evacuees in Ventura County.

California Fire Foundation is a statewide nonprofit organization that is working to get fast funds to everyone effected through its SAVE program, where frontline firefighters are given prepaid Mastercards to distribute to victims who often didn’t have time to pack everything they needed before they were forced to evacuate. With it, they can get necessities like food, a change of clothes, or pay for somewhere to stay.