It is not always easy to be grateful. When weighed down by concerns for the nation’s future, finances, educational costs, job opportunities — or lack thereof — or physical and mental crises, it is difficult to summon gratitude. Being mired in worry prevents a person from experiencing life fully. A day dedicated to giving thanks and the holidays that swiftly follow on its heels can be distressing to those overwhelmed by forces beyond their control, or dealing with unexpected traumas.
How fortunate we are to live in a community that reaches out to those who struggle. Last weekend, Newtown fire companies parked trucks outside of the Big Y on Queen Street and Stop & Shop in Sand Hill Plaza and welcomed donations of food, gift cards, and cash to support FAITH Food Pantry. They collected thousands of food and household items. Hundreds of our neighbors make use of this food pantry on Pecks Lane, as well as the town food pantry in Town Hall South. For some, it is a temporary measure due to unforeseen circumstances, for others it is a more chronic situation; but for all, food pantries are a way to overcome food insecurity.
This week, Women Involved in Newtown (WIN) delivered food for Thanksgiving and the holidays to come to more than 70 families, thanks to the generosity of others in town who “adopted” a family in need. It is, sadly, an annual event for WIN, but one that always results in relief for neighbors in need.
In the next few weeks, we will find opportunities to provide gifts for Newtown families and the elderly who would otherwise experience a holiday far from one portrayed in advertising, books, and magazines. More than 80 families will benefit from the Newtown Fund’s Holiday Basket Program alone, this year, while multiple clubs, organizations, and houses of faith will collect toys, clothing, and other gift items to ensure that “Happy Holidays!” rings true in every household.
For the people who “adopt” a family, it is a humbling experience. Newtown residents whose reasons for gratitude are too many to count — and may not even be acknowledged — can only be awed by the need that lies beneath the surface of our affluent town.
We can be grateful that there are individuals and groups in Newtown who are dedicated to easing the despair and frustrations particularly devastating to those in need when the world is celebrating. We can be thankful that all who have much to give, are willing to do so, always allowing the least fortunate among us to receive these gifts with grace, and respecting privacy.
We can be grateful, as well, to know that there are people devoted to seeing that wounds of the heart and body, as well as these more tangible needs are addressed. Newtown is home to people committed to positive actions, and for that, we give thanks.
This is what makes Newtown great, time and again.