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    Giving and the Joy of It

    By Liam P. Mayclem–

    “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

    —Mahatma Gandhi

    As kids, many of us grew up thinking: What will I get for Christmas? What will Santa bring? What will visiting family and friends put in my piggy bank? That was partly my experience. I was also taught early on about serving others, as an altar boy in Catholic Church and doing Saturday morning errands for an elderly neighbor (Mrs. Treble). My mother was a nurse, and so I also learned from her about the importance of giving your time and a hug of comfort to those in need.

    Growing up in England and Ireland, I never experienced Thanksgiving. Boy, what a revelation it was, coming to America and enjoying a holiday that was all about a massive foodie feast shared with friends and family and then thanks—giving thanks. No gifts? The perfect holiday!

    For many years I have given my time in all manner of ways over the Thanksgiving holiday. That precious commodity of time is one of the biggest gifts we can give of ourselves to another. A selfless act of your time to another can make a world of difference, not just for those you serve but also for yourself. 

    The need is great for so many in these challenging times around the holidays as well as all year round. I have many Bay Area nonprofits that I work with throughout the year, but around the holidays I focus on the ones that feed the hungry, our elders, our neighbors. Find a nonprofit that works for you, one you can donate money or time to, or, in the case of nonprofits such as food banks or shelters, one you can give items to or spend time volunteering.

    You could peel potatoes or prep veggies for Project Open Hand, serve holiday meals at Glide, bag up groceries for delivery at a food bank—the possibilities are endless. Last year I, with support via ChefsGiving, delivered 200 turkeys to firehouses around the Bay Area. You could take a warm meal or bag of groceries to a senior or someone you know who is in need, is housebound, and alone. The choice is yours. Our LGBTQ+ seniors especially need us around the holidays. A seemingly small act of kindness can make a world of difference.

    When you give from the heart, the gifts you give will be returned to you tenfold, I guarantee it! And if you spend Thanksgiving morning volunteering, it will only make your turkey day feast taste better.

    Here is my list of nonprofits that really matter to me throughout the year, but especially so during the holiday season.

    Thank you for giving!

    GLIDE Memorial Church
    (several options for volunteering)
    https://www.glide.org/volunteer/

    Holiday Heroes
    Presented by the Wender-Weis Foundation for Children
    December 7 at Oracle Park
    (send a Be-A-Hero Box to an at-risk child and more)
    https://holidayheroes.org/

    La Cocina
    (an organization that cultivates low-income food entrepreneurs; look for “Ways to Support” at the website)|Holiday Market is December 11
    https://lacocinasf.org/

    Meals on Wheels
    (donate & sign up to write cards to seniors)
    https://www.mowsf.org/

    On Lok
    (nutrition programs, healthcare and more for seniors; multiple volunteer opportunities)
    https://onlok.org/

    Project Open Hand
    holiday fundraiser is December 9
    http://www.openhand.org/

    SF – Marin Food Bank
    (a donation of $1 = 4 meals!)
    https://www.sfmfoodbank.org/

    St. Anthony’s
    (multiple ways to give, including clothing donations)
    https://www.stanthonysf.org/

    Tenderloin Tessie
    40 years of feeding the hungry in San Francisco
    http://tenderlointessie.com/

    Emmy Award-winning radio and television personality Liam Mayclem is regularly featured on KPIX as well as KCBS, where he is the popular Foodie Chap. Born in London, Mayclem is now at home in the Bay Area, where he lives with his husband, photographer Rick Camargo. For more information: https://www.bookliam.com/

    Published on November 18, 2021