For as long as I can remember, Thanksgiving has been one of my favorite holidays. A day that celebrates food, family and blessings is a gift in and of itself.
And as long as I can remember, I have had the occasional Thanksgiving birthday. Good or bad, it comes with the territory of being born on November 26. I was born on a Wednesday in 1975, and as my mom still tells it, that was the only year she missed Thanksgiving dinner because she had to eat the meal someone else at Manhattan Memorial Hospital had ordered: Ham. (Sorry, mom.)
Fast forward four decades, and I will be celebrating my 40th this year on Thanksgiving Day. When I discovered this, I had mixed feelings. Thanksgiving birthdays — my husband has been known to call them Birthgiving Days — are usually pretty forgettable. Thanksgiving, in all its glory, takes over. But turning 40, especially on Thanksgiving, makes me pause.
40. Thankful. Wow.
Because proper celebration will be sparse on my actual birthday, I hatched a new plan. A birthday campaign, you might say. (I’ve spent my last 15 years working in public relations. I can’t help it.)
During the month of November, I’m challenging my friends, my family and my followers — YOU — to give to your local food bank. I’m calling it Feed 40×40, and my goal is to generate a collective donation of 1,600 food items and/or dollars to local food banks across Kansas and across the country.
Whether it’s one box of powdered milk, 10 cans of sliced peaches or 100 jars of peanut butter — or a cash donation in any amount — you can make a difference. My husband and I are donating to the Eudora Food Pantry and Just Food in Lawrence. Big or small, near or far, here’s how YOU can help me reach my goal of 1,600 total items+dollars before Thanksgiving / Birthgiving Day, November 26:
- Donate a little (or a lot) to your local food pantry.
- Share this post and/or your donation story, and encourage your friends to donate to their local food pantry. Let social media work for you!
- Organize a mini food drive in your office or neighborhood this month.
- Focus on the items that food pantries have trouble keeping on their shelves… peanut butter, breakfast cereal, dried pasta and grains, personal hygiene products, bathroom tissue.
- Take a photo of your donation and post to social media. Be sure to tag me on Twitter or Instagram, or on Facebook or LinkedIn if we’re connected there. And don’t forget the hashtag! #Feed40x40
- Change your social media and/or e-mail profile pic to the Feed 40×40 graphic, for an hour, a day, or the whole month.
- And please: Whether by photo, tweet, post or carrier pigeon… TELL ME when you’ve donated. The PR person in me needs to measure the effectiveness of this campaign. Click here for a handy form you can fill out. Fact is, I gotta know if we hit 1,600. (And I promise to let you know, too!)
Help me spread the word. Help me make a difference. And help me spread thankfulness all month long — to those who have a lot, and to those who don’t.
I don’t normally ask people to do things for me. But it’s my birthday. Won’t you help make it special?