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By Jo Liston20221116 Blankets for Veterans Judi Jansen and Kathy Hanson web

Welcome home. It is that time of year when our friends from the North are coming South! We missed you during the summer. We are glad that you have chosen the Rio Grande Valley for your Winter Home. We appreciate all that you do to help us. Anyone from outside the Valley who comes to visit even for a day helps us economically and many of you stay much longer than a day.

During your stay so many of you share your time, talent and love with us. That kind of help is something money can't buy. Thank you for caring and sharing. What an example you set for us to follow. Many children in our area do not have enough warm clothing for our cooler days. Thank you, Winter Texans, for the warm winter coats you have donated for our school children, many of whom were staying home from school on colder days. Thank you for sharing. ,

Those of us who are local need to follow your example. Let's look around and see how we too can share. All of us have something to share. It doesn't have to be money, it can be a talent or even a physical chore like helping to fill grocery boxes at a Food Bank or serving meals at a homeless shelter or entertaining in a nursing home.

One of our large grocery store chains that had their beginning in Texas also sets an example with the annual Feast of Sharing. They share when they prepare a Thanksgiving meal for all those who do not have the money to purchase that Thanksgiving meal or perhaps not even the family with whom to share the meal. What an example that large corporation sets for us. But they need help from us also. Somebody needs to help serve the plates. Volunteers can help make it happen.

Maybe we can look around us and find other ways that we can share. Is there a school near you that needs help? Perhaps some of those young students need extra tutoring in math or in reading skills. Do you have time to be a volunteer tutor? There is a program in most of our local schools often referred to as HOSTS - those are the initials for Help One Student To Succeed. Why not volunteer? Sometimes a student just needs someone to listen to him read.

Our hospitals can also use volunteer help. Sometimes it is just delivering flowers to the patient’s room. Or it could be reading to a blind person or visiting with an elder person who is in their own home or in a nursing home.

Recently, I learned of another way to share. A group of women organized a Cookie Brigade Angels. These women shared their talent and love of cooking with children in their town who had suffered a loss. Some had lost a parent during the pandemic, some of the children were in broken homes with only one parent, some were ill or shut in. All needed love and attention. Every Friday, one of these women who were affectionately called a "cookie angel," would deliver a bag of homemade cookies to a special child. Now that too can be called "a gift of sharing.”

During this Thanksgiving Season let's try to give of ourselves, our time and our talents to someone who may not be quite as blessed as we have been. Let's follow the examples that have been set for us.

Thank you Winter Texans. Have a beautiful Thanksgiving!