Over the Holidays, the Elgin Community Network organized a Community Thanksgiving Dinner. They collected turkey and dessert donations, recruited volunteers and expected to feed close to twelve hundred people a free Thanksgiving dinner. Our family volunteered for the morning shift, excited for the opportunity to give of ourselves.
When we arrived we could smell the food cooking and saw dozens of volunteers at work setting up tables, rolling silverware, cutting bread and serving up hundreds and hundreds plates of dessert. At the far side of the room there were several tables covered with crayons and stacks and stacks of paper place mats. Volunteers were invited to have a seat at the table and decorate place mats with drawings and written messages. We watched as men, women and children of all ages took their place at the tables, grabbed a few crayons and shared themselves on paper. There were some that drew and colored with great freedom and without hesitation. Others approached the task with trepidation and uncertainty, but their heart to give helped them overcome their nervousness. My own daughter, a former Young Rembrandts art teacher, taught at least a dozen people how to draw a turkey by tracing around their fingers, encouraging them to use lots of color and texture in their feathers. But what was most striking about the activity was the sound of laughter and delight, with so many people enjoying the act of making, doing and giving.