Giving Thanks

By State Senator Bill Diamond

There is no doubt about it that the past year has been a time of great challenges for many. Thanksgiving reminds us that despite the individual or shared problems we have faced, we are resilient and can get through anything if we work together.

Perhaps this resiliency dates back to the first Thanksgiving in 1621 at the Plymouth Colony. The Pilgrims had just endured that first winter that caused the death of more than half their colony. As the Pilgrims recovered, they soon learned they had friends among them — the local Wampanoag Indians, whom they celebrated their first harvest “thanksgiving” with. For the Pilgrims, the Thanksgiving dinner represented a new beginning, and an opportunity to enjoy the company of their family and new friends.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this year, it is important to realize that while many have much to be thankful for right now, there are many others who are in great need. Whether it is fuel assistance for heating the family home, food aid, or a place to stay when there is no where else, there are many individuals and agencies in our community who are working hard to give help and hope back to those in need.

Red Cross blood donors needed

While food insecurity is an important concern, there are many other organizations in Maine working hard to make a difference. The American Red Cross provides a number of vital services in Maine. The Red Cross is on the scene when a fire breaks out and a family is left homeless. The Red Cross is quick to provide housing to an individual or family that may have just lost their home. Another service is the Red Cross’s efforts to keep our blood supply stable.

Right now in Maine, the Red Cross says the blood inventory in our region is low and currently short around 400 units of blood. Volunteers are needed to help give blood. Many have already answered the call to help and blood drives around the state are conveniently available so that people can help. The following are a couple planned blood drives in our region. Please contact the Red Cross at 1-800-GIVE LIFE for more information or if you would like to schedule an appointment.

2-1-1 Maine

Whether you are looking for volunteer opportunities or need help yourself, 2-1-1 Maine can connect you to a statewide-directory of over 5,000 resources including agency services and support groups. Maine people can dial 2-1-1 from any mobile or land line phone to get access to information or go online to www.211maine.org

Another great resource that is linked to 2-1-1 Maine is Volunteer Maine. Volunteer Maine is a resource that provides easy access to hundreds of meaningful volunteer opportunities all over Maine and in your local community. To learn more, you can go to www.volunteermaine.org, or call 287-8933.

Thanksgiving is a great time to celebrate with family and friends and to be thankful for what we have. There are lots of ways to give back to your local community and help someone in need by giving to a local food bank, giving blood, or volunteering your time to a worthy local organization. For those struggling to make ends meet, there is help available and it is sometimes just a phone call away.

Please don’t forget that if you have any questions or comments, you can contact me here at the State House by calling 287-1515 or by visiting my website, www.mainesenate.org/diamond

Happy Thanksgiving!

Senator Bill Diamond is a resident of Windham, and serves the communities of Casco, Frye Island, Raymond, Standish, Windham and Hollis as Senator of District 12.

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