The meaning behind Thanksgiving is in the name: Express your gratitude by giving to others

When it comes to favorite holidays among Americans, one stands above all the others, generating positive feelings beyond presents under trees, treats in pumpkin totes or pastel-colorful eggs in baskets.

According to a national survey conducted early this year, Thanksgiving had a popularity rating of 82 percent, far outdistancing Christmas, Halloween or Easter.

When the calendar turns to November, Americans tend to look for ways to warm the hearts of those around us. Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude and reflection, and at Goodwill Central Coast, we’re thankful for you — the individuals who support our mission to connect others to life-changing opportunities.

Each year, GCC helps thousands of people become fully engaged, productive citizens in our community. By providing skills training, job placement services, and other educational opportunities, GCC celebrates its core Mission Services each day.

Expressing gratitude

For most of us, Thanksgiving represents the most important of holidays because it is a time when American families reunite, express gratitude for one another, and feel closer to one another than at any other time.

The day is centered around family, food and reflection (and maybe a late-afternoon nap). Built into the emotion of gratitude is always a sense of reaching out to others less fortunate. That’s why Thanksgiving is the perfect time to raid closets, wardrobes and dusty attics for things you no longer want or need.

Donating these items to Goodwill Central Coast strengthens our community by empowering people to work. It also preserves the Central Coast landscape by diverting millions of pounds from landfills. Make all these good feelings swell within you and your family this holiday season.

And don’t just drop off items. While you’re at it, step inside one of our 14 stores to support our mission — leaving with some treasures that are certain to brighten your Thanksgiving.

Give a monetary gift

If you’re not feeling up to a household purge but still want to give, you can always support GCC’s mission with a monetary donation. Generosity comes in many forms, and no matter how you choose to give, GCC uses your gift to fund many services in our community.

Every dollar you give helps change a life and protect the planet. Your tax-deductible donation goes towards our vocational programs that give job seekers the skills to become valuable employees. It also helps us pay our employees and run the retail locations that allow us to pursue our mission.

You can donate by check (payable to Goodwill Central Coast and mailed to: Goodwill Central Coast. Attn: Charitable Giving, 1566 Moffett St., Salinas, CA 93905. Or you can donate online here.

Our donors are the lifeblood of what we do, but there are many other ways you can support our mission. The simple act of telling a friend or family member about GCC’s mission helps bring awareness to our services. Consider working a mention of Goodwill into the conversation at this year’s Thanksgiving get-together (or on your social media platform), and you’ll be making a difference with very little effort.

The most fun way to support Goodwill’s mission is by shopping at your local Goodwill retail store. You’ll discover amazing deals on unique finds and even brand-name clothing, shoes, accessories, household goods, and more. How about a new Thanksgiving outfit for family photos or a DIY centerpiece with supplies from Goodwill? Every single item you purchase helps to support our programs and service, and that’s worth sharing for all to see. If you do post your #GoodwillFinds on social media, don’t forget to tag us at GCC!

However you spend your time this Thanksgiving, be sure to pause to show gratitude for all the good things in your life. Though it might not always come naturally to all, gratitude is a virtue without which we wouldn’t be fully human. It is easy to gloss over the true meaning behind Thanksgiving — beyond the turkey and mashed potatoes, and the football games emanating from our televisions.

At Goodwill Central Coast, we have heartfelt gratitude for our employees, donors, shoppers, and local communities that pull together for a brighter future for all. We will close our stores on Thanksgiving Day to allow all our employees to gather with loved ones and remember the true meaning behind this most treasured of holidays.

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