Our Growing Roots: Food Gifts and Giving Make Real Connections

The Spirit of Giving

When I think of everything a holiday should be, Thanksgiving has all the bases covered. There are few joys greater than the smell of a home cooked meal, and the warmth of family and friends gathered around the table to enjoy it. This holiday isn’t about wish lists or battling long lines and huge crowds in search of the perfect gift. In fact, Thanksgiving gives us the unique opportunity to give something greater – the gifts of time, presence, laughter, and love.

Each year around this time, we begin to reflect on how we might celebrate the spirit of giving beyond just our family table. This usually includes neighbors, teachers, and even the larger community. This year, we picked up a few mini loaf pans that we plan to fill with banana and pumpkin breads before handing them out to a few of our neighbors. The kids also decided they were going to create hand-written tags, naming something about the recipient that they were most thankful for. These notes will say thank you to the teenagers who smile and wave each time my children shout hello to them out the window, to the neighbor who brings our trash barrels in from the street each week while we are at work, and to the surrogate grandmother next door who never forgets their birthdays.  

Sitting down to the Thanksgiving table, surrounded by the abundance of food and connection, is a humble reminder that not everyone is awarded this privilege. It’s this very awareness that inspires us to host a food drive each year at our family business, collecting canned food and other items that we donate to our local soup kitchen. This year, I invite everyone in our Hilltown Families community to give back in some way. Maybe it’s donating a few canned goods from your own pantry, or making cookies for your child’s teacher, or inviting a friend to dinner who would otherwise spend Thanksgiving alone. No matter what you do or what you give, extend your hand and open your heart. All of it matters

In the essence of Thanksgiving, thank you for allowing me to be a part of this amazing community. I am grateful beyond words.


Cheryl Przezdziecki

Cheryl lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. In addition to freelance writing, she works as a private practice Mental Health Counselor in Chicopee. Cheryl is passionate about local and organic food. In 2012, she founded GMO Free Massachusetts, a grassroots organization designed to educate consumers about the benefits of an organic lifestyle while empowering people to make informed choices. Cheryl is also an avid theater-goer, a passionate writer, and aspiring playwright.


[Photo credit: (cc) Whitney

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