By Susan Ciancio

We all need hope. One look through a news feed is enough to fill anyone with despair. So, between now and Thanksgiving, instead of focusing on the news or on the state of the country, let us focus on gratitude. Let us look at our blessings and rejoice, for God is good! And then let us be that hope we all need—to others, to our family, and to strangers. We can be that hope through our actions.

Everything we have comes from God. And in everything we should give thanks.

Gratitude is not something we should have during just this time of year; it’s something we should always feel and express.

[There are just a few days] until Thanksgiving. Let us resolve to fill those days with love, with compassion, with kindness, and with generosity by doing good for others. To help you, we have six great suggestions for ways you can give to others and shine the light of Christ during a time when many people are suffering—and often suffering silently. By giving of yourself and caring for others, you will be doing God’s will and participating in His plan for evangelization. And the impact you make will reach far and wide.

1. Adopt a family.

Many parishes or charitable organizations (like Catholic Charities) have a list of families who need help around the holidays. Give back by buying a turkey and the ingredients for side dishes so that a local family can celebrate without the financial worry or strain of extra food.

2. Reach out in love.

Call someone who means a lot to you and thank him for all he’s done. Take the time to show this person that he matters to you and that you value him. The holidays are very difficult for many people—even people who seem surrounded by family or by love. Going the extra mile to show someone he’s cherished will have bountiful effects.

3. Bake cookies for women living in a nearby crisis pregnancy center.

Women who have chosen to continue with pregnancies have done something very heroic. Show your love for both them and their babies by including a note of encouragement with the cookies.

4. Donate items to a food pantry.

Go shopping and buy extra food for a food pantry. Take the kids along and have them help you pick out their favorites.

5. Check in on your single friends or on elderly neighbors.

Thanksgiving is hard when you’re alone or have no family nearby. Think about the people in your life or in your neighborhood who don’t have a place to go for Thanksgiving. Invite them to spend the day with you. Share your love and your family.

6. Serve a Thanksgiving meal to the homeless.

One of the most amazing ways to spend Thanksgiving is to do something out of generosity for others. People who don’t have homes often feel especially lonely and forgotten on holidays. Help bring love and compassion to their lives by spending time with them and shining the light and love of Christ.

Thanksgiving is a joyous time of year. We can all help make it more joyous by doing good for others. And as we read in Galatians: “Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up.”

This article has been reprinted with permission and can be found at clmagazine.org/post/six-ways-to-show-gratitude-this-thanksgiving.