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12 Days of Gratitude and Giving: Coming Together to Give Back to Those in Need

Lindsey Morse
ByLindsey MorseNov 23, 2021 | 1 comment

Volunteer hands holding food donations box with grocery products on white desk.

We kicked off the first two days of 12 Days of Gratitude and Giving with a couple of epic advent calendar giveaways, and we’re going to shift the focus a little bit today.

Pandemic living has put a lot of things in focus for us here at MSA, and now that there seems to be a light at the end of this (very long) tunnel, it’s interesting to reflect on how things have changed during the past 20 months. Our lives are different. So, too, are our priorities. We feel closer to our local communities, more in tune with our neighbors, and so very grateful for those who’ve supported us during the especially challenging moments. We’ve learned to lead with gratitude, and we’ve seen you echo the same sentiment. From supporting your favorite small businesses to sharing ways you choose to give back, gratitude and giving seems to be top of mind for us all.

I recently interviewed Nancy for the Confessions of a Swapper series, and when asked about the items she won’t use, she said:

“[I’ve made up] bags for my co-workers, friends, relatives, nursing homes, and women homes! I had an endless supply of make up and skin products.”

In last year’s post about Small Business Saturday, Lynn M. shared some of her favorite small businesses to support:

“[I] shop at our Indy book store tombolo books. For online shops, Crystal lion gems, Erin Jane designs, east fork pottery, flour craft bakery (gluten free), baby’s coffee, bannor toys, omg I have shopped small for years. So I could write an entire post on this topic.”

This year, we’re launching some new holiday traditions here at MSA (like this 12 Days series!), and we want to make sure that gratitude is a big part of that. As a group of subscription box addicts, we sometimes find that we have a lot of stuff, and we thought it might be nice to take some time to share how we choose to give back in the lead up to Thanksgiving. We’d like to share a few of our stories, and we hope you’ll all jump in and join the conversation, too.

I’ll kick things off with mine.

Every week before Thanksgiving, I have a tradition where I sort through my kitchen cabinets. As someone who receives a lot of food subscriptions, I usually end up amassing a bizarre mix of international snacks, condiments, gourmet treats… all kinds of interesting goodies. If something has been hanging out for more than a month or two, it goes in the donation pile. This helps make room for the influx of holiday groceries, and it makes me feel good to donate all these non-perishable items to those who might need them. (The randomness of my annual haul always makes me chuckle a bit. This year, I had rice, beans, and popcorn alongside Japanese snacks, popcorn, gourmet salt, pomegranate molasses, and veggie straws!) It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of Thanksgiving, and between baking and prepping for guests and cooking holiday meals and shopping Black Friday deals, I sometimes find it difficult to take time out to just be. I like that my annual kitchen clean-out gives me space to reflect and think about the things I have to be thankful for.

For years, I lived in Washington, DC, and I’d donate to a local food bank, but I moved to New Orleans a couple of years ago, and now have a donation option that’s even closer to home. There’s a small community pantry down the street from me that’s maintained by the neighborhood. It’s usually stocked with cans of soup, dry goods, baby food, toothbrushes, and a handful of other items that are available for anyone who may need a helping hand. Every couple of weeks, I like to drop off household essentials and a few food stapes, and around the holidays, I try to make the rounds a bit more frequently. This year, I dropped off my subscription swag along with a few Thanksgiving sides I picked up at the grocery store. I really hope the donation helps someone who needs a little extra assistance, and even though international candy bars and spicy honey may not be the most traditional of Thanksgiving goodies, I hope my contribution is a small indulgence that makes someone smile.

 

I’m not the only one on the team with an annual tradition like this. Samantha, our jet-set editor who splits her time between NYC and London, supports charities on both sides of the Atlantic: Wimbledon Food BankThe Dons Local Action Group, and Ascension Outreach. She dropped off some food last week, and her daughter, Penny, donated a new toy. Writer Jeanne donates a turkey every year to her local foundation for the homeless. South Florida-based Geraldine donates to Feeding South Florida each Thanksgiving. She and her family also volunteer their time. Says Geraldine, “I think it’s such a nice way to be grateful and thankful for everything you have.” Simran also likes to take time out to give back this time of year. Growing up, her parents organized a group volunteer activity with family and friends at the Walk-In Dinner Program each Thanksgiving, and now she volunteers in her own right. Last year, she participated in the Thankful Turkey event by Miller Farms, and she plans to make it an annual tradition.

MSA also gives back in its own right; the company regularly donates clothing and personal care items to Dress for Success.

What about you? Do you like to take time out this time of year to give back? Do you have a favorite local food charity you support? If so, please feel free to share a little bit about them and their mission in the comments section below.

 


Today is day three. We’ll be back tomorrow with another edition of this series!

Lindsey Morse
Lindsey Morse
Lindsey is a professional baker, cold brew coffee addict, and rosé aficionado who loves writing about food and wine. When she’s not sharing her love of subscription boxes with the world, you’ll find her in the podcasting studio, perfecting her cake decorating techniques, or cursing her way through the New York Times daily crossword puzzle.

Lindsey Morse
Lindsey Morse
Lindsey is a professional baker, cold brew coffee addict, and rosé aficionado who loves writing about food and wine. When she’s not sharing her love of subscription boxes with the world, you’ll find her in the podcasting studio, perfecting her cake decorating techniques, or cursing her way through the New York Times daily crossword puzzle.
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1 comment

Jody E

I always donate to our Catholic Charities that can get the food/clothing/home goods to people in need. The Knights of Columbus collect coats for kids and adults. We always outgrow coats before they wear out and I enjoy donating to them. I recently took some of my unused Ipsy bags and stuffed them full for a women’s shelter.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Our reviewers research, test, and recommend the best subscriptions and products independently; click to learn more about our editorial guidelines. We may receive commissions on purchases made through links on our site.