Thanksgiving . . . a beautiful time we set aside each year to focus our attention on our many blessings. Most of us fill this time with family, friends, and usually an abundance of yummy food. But for many families in our community, the holidays can be quite difficult. When you are already struggling to provide even the basics of food, clothing, and shelter for yourself and your family, it is easy to feel discouraged, as the holidays can be another hardship rather than a time of celebration.
Every November, our Thanks for Giving ministry focus gives our church family the opportunity to come together and help provide a little bit of hope and help for 800 neighbors in need here in Frisco, Little Elm, Hilltown, and South Dallas. It starts with our church family donating thousands of grocery items and packing them into 800 Thanks for Giving bags. Then, we come alongside local schools, churches, and non-profits that we partner with throughout the year, as well as through our benevolence ministry here at Stonebriar, to distribute these bags to low-income families in our community, just in time for Thanksgiving.
Each bag we give is prayed over multiple times and holds not only items to help make a few meals, but a handwritten note of encouragement. Our prayer is that these bags provide not only for some of these families’ physical needs, but also serve as a reminder that they are not forgotten and are dearly loved!
Each time we deliver these bags, I am amazed and humbled to look into the eyes of the recipients, whether it be a parent or grandparent receiving a bag for their family, or a school counselor or fellow pastor who will be passing along this provision. There is something I can see in their eyes and hear in their voice when they receive this simple food bag—it is a tangible reminder of hope.
I have heard it said many times (and have said it often myself) that in an area like Frisco, there is no reason for any individual to go hungry. We live in one of the most affluent areas, and so the ability to share our abundance to help our neighbors in need is more than “doable.” But even greater than that, as children of God, our calling to love our neighbor as ourselves gives us our motivation as well as our marching orders. We GET to do this!
We give as an overflow because God has given to us. For some of us, that might mean bringing a truckload of groceries, and for others, it might be a bag of rice or a box of Jello. Some may choose to give of their time to help pack the Thanks for Giving bags, and others may feel led to invite an individual or family going through a hard time to join them for Thanksgiving dinner. Some will write notes, and others will pray. My challenge to each of us is to take a moment and think of the ways that God has blessed and provided for us. Then, take the time to tell Him thank You, and then respond as HE leads in how you might choose to demonstrate your gratitude this Thanksgiving. What a joy! What an honor!
Thanks for Giving—it’s a phrase we say first to GOD in gratitude for all HE has given to us, and then it’s a heartfelt appreciation I say to each of you. Thanks for Giving of your time, prayers, and resources to help us love our neighbors. We “Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever” (Psalm 118:1).
(Oh and don’t you worry—there are more opportunities coming up as A Season of Giving continues through Christmas! We’re just getting started! 😊)
Visit our Season of Giving page to discover how you can help care for 800 local families in need through Thanks for Giving.