November isn’t the only month when we think about gratitude, but it may be the month when we feel most grateful. Traditionally, friends and family gathered at the Thanksgiving table to take a moment to name the things that make them feel fortunate. In more recent years, people have begun practicing daily reflections, posting daily updates using hashtags such as #thankyou, #thankfulness and #blessings.
But because the holiday season is one of giving as well as receiving, this also is the time of year people start to think more about charitable donations. Luckily, there’s no shortage of worthy causes and deserving organizations across the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. This year, just imagine how wonderful it would be to make someone else’s gratitude list.
The North Texas Food Bank, headquartered in the Dallas Farmers Market, partners with more than 200 organizations in 13 area counties to help feed those struggling with food insecurity. In North Texas, one in six people don’t know where their next meal is coming from, and the youngest among us are especially vulnerable — one in four children don’t have access to regular, healthy meals. Those are staggering numbers — but a little can go a long way. Just $1 can provide three meals to a neighbor in need. How can you be of assistance? By volunteering, hosting your own canned food drive, or donating funds to make sure the doors to the North Texas Food Bank’s pantries stay open year-round.
Because families should be together during tough times, the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas in the Medical District provides lodging and other services to families with children receiving medical treatment in the area. The facility features 52 guest rooms, play areas and generously stocked kitchens so that those who have temporarily relocated to Dallas can have a home away from home. Additionally, volunteers bring home-cooked meals, provide transportation to and from hospitals and assist with activities such as crafts, games, movie nights and visits from therapy dogs and zoo animals. You can help by donating money, household items, or listing the Ronald McDonald House as your Kroger Rewards, Tom Thumb Good Neighbor or AmazonSmile beneficiary. The latter is a great way to ensure that a portion of your holiday purchases goes toward giving back.
Dwell with Dignity is a nonprofit located in Uptown that designs and installs home interiors for families struggling with poverty and homelessness. The idea is that safe, functional and beautiful home environments can inspire people to maintain a new standard of living. There are many ways to help, including making donations of both goods and cash. But also be on the lookout for their Jingle Dwell holiday home decor pop-up shop.
CitySquare (formerly known as Central Dallas Ministries) has been fighting poverty in the city’s neediest areas for almost 30 years. In addition to helping families stay fed, clothed and sheltered, CitySquare advocates on behalf of the underprivileged and disenfranchised and offers additional social services to care for their emotional and spiritual well-being. One of the easiest ways to help (other than with a financial gift) is by shopping CitySquare’s Thrift Store, located at 1213 N. Washington Ave. in Downtown Dallas’ Baylor District.
Thanksgiving also brings with it opportunities to contribute to the continuation of Dallas’ proud artistic tradition. Donations to nonprofits in the Central Arts District such as the Dallas Museum of Art, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the Dallas Theater Center not only keep the city’s cultural offerings vibrant but also create opportunities for the city to preserve its history while fueling innovation in the visual and performing arts.
Another way to give the gift of beauty to the city is through a donation to the Trust for Public Land. The Trust has established its offices for all of North Texas in Downtown’s Republic Center. It’s from here that they continue to advocate for the protection of the Trinity River watershed, the preservation of widely accessible urban green spaces and the creation of Smart Growth initiatives across the city. A gift of merely one dollar can help the Trust save five dollars’ worth of land, and the statistics bear out this claim. In their 45 years of existence, the Trust has protected 3.3 million acres and completed more than 5,400 park and conservation projects.
What are you most thankful for this holiday season? How do you plan on sharing your blessings with your neighbors? Let us know which area nonprofits, causes and service organizations you feel are doing admirable work in our great city by joining the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. As always, your support for Parks for Downtown Dallas and our mission to transform our urban center from gray to green through the addition of four Downtown parks is always appreciated.