A Season of Gratitude, A Community Feast of Giving, and Time Spent with Family

Earlier this month, several Facebook friends began posting daily “What I’m thankful for” entries, and it was fun to check and see what everyone was sharing. For some in my life, “grateful for friends and family” was a common theme. Nice to read. Others were grateful to have a job after months of searching for one. Glad for them, I thought.

Others were glad to be expecting their soldiers home for this holiday. I paused to appreciate how much that meant to so many—what a gift of time that means. When I read “happy to be home recuperating from surgery or chemo,” it made me think about how many people are in the hospital this time of year.

It’s common to see the posting, “Glad to live in a community that comes together to help others enjoy their holiday meals.” My hometown, the City of Bryan, and our neighboring city, College Station, comprise the heart of the Brazos Valley. Our community searches out where needs are most, and then gets busy meeting those needs. It’s so heartwarming to learn more about all that’s going on.

This will be the 35th year that Danny Morrison’s Epicures Catering will deliver hot meals to over 1200 families this year, thanks of course to hundreds of volunteers who’ve been part of this exciting tradition. Remember that their business was hit by a tornado earlier this year, in April? They simply do not let anything keep them from their traditions of helping. They’re using the kitchens of Texas A&M Food Services, and see where they partner with the Brazos Valley Food Bank, United Way, Meals on Wheels, Hospice, and other group! Learn more at https://epicuresexperience.com/Thanksgiving-in-the-Brazos-Valley.

Then, over this past weekend, the Aggieland Rotary Club, boxed up the turkeys with Thankgiving ‘baskets’ and over 100 drivers delivered about 470 complete Thanksgiving meals (loving care packages!) for families to prepare. That’s only the start of this season’s generosity in our community.

On Thanksgiving Day at Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church (310 W. Martin Luther King, Jr. St. in Bryan), this is the 32nd year of civic leader Gloria Kennard and her friends will provide a meal at the church and anyone is welcome to attend. It begins at 11am with a brief program and food service starts at 11:30 and continues through 3:30. They’re preparing for at least 800 to come by, so if you know anyone who would like a meal, tell them! Learn more here.

It’s not just about the food donations that I’m lifting these groups up; it’s about the time the volunteers (the ones whose names you never see in the paper, whose faces are never seen on TV) who run to help those in our community, wherever there is a need. Those are the faces who see the eyes and hearts of those who accept our help.

At some time in our lives, we have all encountered those whose good fortune has run out. Maybe a father or mother lost their jobs, maybe a fire took out the place where they were living. Someone was there to meet the need. The Brazos Valley is overflowing with wonderful people who step up to meet and fill those needs, without expectation of anything good back. They just love to help.

Next week, on Wednesday, Dec. 4, our friends at KBTX-TV will be holding their 24th Annual Food for Families Food Drive for the Brazos Valley Food Bank, and no matter what, the weather always seems to turn freezing cold and all the staff and team at KBTX freeze for a good cause, staying cheerful through it all, and thousands of pounds of food are donated by our wonderful community for the Brazos Valley Food Bank.

This year also marks the 36th year of the annual Radio MASH (Make a Smile Happen) Toy Drive at the Post Oak Mall parking lot at the intersection of Hwy 30 and Hwy 6. So, look for that to start Dec. 5 and run through Dec. 9th. Click here to see how you can help.

And after a fine feast of turkey on Thursday, we’re going to take on some Tigers in their hometown, and give them a good battle for our Thanksgiving weekend contest…and then spend the rest of the weekend with family and friends.

Holiday gatherings are a chance to share stories of days gone by, look at old photos that include many people, now gone, and to remember when. Save those stories for generations to come. Years from now, someone not even born yet will be glad you did.

Carly Simon, in her song “Anticipation” has a set of poignant lyrics.

“We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway…

And tomorrow we might not be together
I’m no prophet and I don’t know nature’s ways
So I’ll try and see into your eyes right now
And stay right here ’cause these are the good old days”

~~”Anticipation” by Carly Simon (1971)

These are the good old days…Thanksgiving 2019…or at least that is how some of your family members might see it, 30 years from now. Be sure and tell your stories to the children and grandchildren this week and weekend. They are the threads that will connect your generations for years to come.

Please add info on any community programs those you know about that aren’t listed, too! There are so many ways you can participate. As we begin the Holiday Season may we all be able to participate in reaching out and helping to meet the needs of our community!

On behalf of Chelsea, Lorene, me, and our entire team,

Happy Thanksgiving blessings to you and your family,

Cody D. Jones

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