We have much for which we are grateful.
We are grateful for for our freedoms, and for those whose sacrifices, past and present, have made those freedoms endure for generations.
We are grateful for our families and friends, and for the love that makes life worthwhile.
We are grateful for our beautiful City of Irvine, our beautiful state of California, and our beautiful planet.
We are grateful for our frontline health care workers, especially during this pandemic.
We are grateful for our firefighters, police and first responders, and for our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen.
We are grateful for everyone in our community and our nation who protects us and serves those in need.
We are grateful for the volunteers who comfort the sick and care for the young and the aged.
We are grateful for those who offer food, shelter, and medical care to those who have no home.
We are grateful that we are fortunate enough to be able to help others.
Our family, especially during the holidays, supports ClothingDonations.org, a service of Vietnam Veterans of America. ClothingDonations.org will pick up your used clothes and household goods at your convenience and use them to support programs that address the needs of all our veterans.
We also support Families Forward, an Irvine-based organization that assists Orange County families in financial crisis to achieve and maintain self-sufficiency and helps these families to once again become independent, productive residents of the community. During the holidays, Families Forward also provides in-need families with festive food baskets and personalized holiday gifts.
Another worthy organization is the California Association of Food Banks, founded in 1995 to help hungry people throughout California, including our local Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County and the Community Action Partnership of Orange County Food Bank.
Our City of Irvine proudly and gratefully supports the Irvine 2/11 Marine Adoption Committee, which provides charitable and educational activities and support for the benefit and welfare of the United States Marines and their families assigned to Camp Pendleton, California, with special emphasis on the Marines and families of the 2nd Battalion, 11th Marines.
Donations of toys can be made to the 2/11 Marines Holiday Toy Drive benefiting families of Irvine’s adopted 2/11 Marine Battalion. Help bring joy to these families during the holidays by donating a new, unwrapped gift suitable for infants or children ages 12 and younger. Donations can be dropped off through December 14 at the Irvine Civic Center, Irvine Police Headquarters, and the Great Park Visitors Center.
We also endorse giving to Socks for Heroes, which ships socks along with other essentials to United States Marine Corps combat infantry units, provides Marine children the ability to take advantage of swimming lessons, sports, and camps, and provides other programs for single Marines and Marine families during deployments.
Gift cards for Firefighters can be mailed or delivered to the OCFA Firefighter’s Benevolent Association for Firefighters in need. Monetary donations can be made to Firefighter organizations such as the OCFA Foundation and the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. Donations can also be made to the California Fire Museum and Safety Leaning Center.
This year, through the involvement of my son, I learned about the great work of Wound Walk OC, which tends to the wounds of unsheltered people in Orange County. Founded three years ago by filmmaker Michael Sean Wright, Wound Walk OC’s mission is to “Practice equity in action. Bring relief to those most in need. Inspire empathetic future healthcare advocates and field medics. Provide encouragement to communities by showing what caring volunteers can accomplish.”
The members of Wound Walk OC, including our son, Max, are street medics who go to where unsheltered people live — in parks and other areas — with a “wound wagon” filled with emergency medical supplies donated by the community. They offer emergency first aid/medical care to homeless people with wounds and other injuries that, without Wound Walk’s intervention, would go untreated, with serious and potentially deadly consequences. They also provide food, drinking water, underwear and socks. Their work in helping unsheltered people with wounds and other medical issues is truly on the front lines of the homelessness crisis — even more so under the dangerous conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic. As Spectrum News One has reported, “While doctors and nurses continue to battle on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wright [and Wound Walk OC] is in many ways on the front lines of its humanity.”
This Thanksgiving is a perfect time to help Wound Walk OC care for our unsheltered brothers and sisters, by donating or visiting their Amazon wish list for needed supplies. If you would like to know more, or learn more about how you can help, contact Wound Walk OC at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 949-973-3317.
Each year at Thanksgiving, we remember our friend Michael Kinslow and his beautiful Prayer of Thanksgiving for those who protect and those who serve:
Thank you God for every woman and man who risks their life for my freedom and safety.
Please bless their families with peace.
Thank you God for every child, woman, and man who volunteers in my community. All of those who feed the hungry, provide shelter, and all who put their hearts, minds, and souls into building up others and caring for all of your creatures.
Please bless them in their own time of need.
Wear a mask. Stay safe.