Thanksgiving: On the Other Side of the Basket

3060320004_f0423c796a_z (2)Last week, my office was collecting food for Thanksgiving gift baskets for Richmond area families who might not otherwise have a Thanksgiving dinner. As we coordinated who was bringing in fixings for Thanksgiving dinner (stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce) as well as proteins, veggies and other staples, we still needed to decide how many baskets we were going to make for families. As we planned to include festive items, such as Thanksgiving tablecloths and decorations, we planned who was bringing which foodstuff.

Our department is relatively small and we knew we could get together the makings of a single basket. We could possibly even do more than one. As we discussed logistics for providing more, one of my colleagues shared, “I think we should do as many baskets as possible. I have been on the other side of the basket. It really stinks not having enough money to even buy food.” My heart sank. Actually knowing someone personally that has experienced being “on the other side of the basket” is sobering. My mind raced to wondering what their specific circumstance was, what they thought about needing help and most importantly, how they got through it all.

Somehow, this made preparing our baskets all the more personal. I thought back to when I had put my first offerings in the basket on a recent trip to the grocery, and having not had the opportunity to have lunch until 2pm that day due to my work schedule, I was getting a little hangry. I placed my large can of yams in the basket and then, having checked that item off the list, I casually said, “I’m starving. I am eating lunch now.” No sooner than the words came out of my mouth, I regretted my poor choice of words. However, it also made me consider –  if I am grumpy after having a meal a few hours late, how are those coping that might not have eaten all day? Or for several days in a row?

So this Thanksgiving and beyond, if you are fortunate enough to give back, please do. Whether it is volunteering at the food bank, donating cash or canned goods, or making a basket for a family –  it all helps. The folks on the other side of the basket will be glad you did – and you will too.

If you need assistance OR can provide assistance, please contact FeedMore.


Fiona Bessey-Bushnell

Fiona Bessey-Bushnell is an occupational therapist and writer. A former archaeologist, she now enjoys digging up great stories right here in Richmond. She has an unusual affinity for Venn diagrams and post-it notes. Fiona lives with her husband and two young sons.

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