正好我们PLAY（Promoting Leadership in Aspiring Youth）Club要去Livermore的一个社区中心做义工，给人发免费的感恩节饭吃。我赶快报了名。感恩节的上午，我和哥哥、妈妈一起来到Livermore社区中心。天气很暖和，来的人很多。人们一来到社区中心，有志愿者欢迎他们进去，带他们去座位，问他们要不要火鸡、沙拉、豆角、烤红薯、土豆泥。吃饭的时候，有人在台上唱歌给大家听。来吃饭的人有很多是老人、退伍军人、残疾人、或无家可归的人。不管是什么人，都可以来吃感恩节饭，和大家一起过节。这个活动已经办了三十多年了，去年有两千多人来参加。
A Meaningful Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving isn’t just about the turkey, or eating pumpkin pie. Every year come November, we should all give thanks and appreciate our family, friends, and community. This year for Thanksgiving, I wanted to do something to show my appreciation for my community, and to help out others.
I belong in a club called PLAY (Promoting Leadership in Aspiring Youth), and this year, to give back to the community, we decided to volunteer at a center in Livermore to provide food for veterans, the disabled, senior citizens, the homeless, and anybody else who wanted to come. On Thanksgiving Day, my mother, my brother and I drove over to the community center to begin our volunteer work. The weather was in perfect condition, with a warm and sunny sky attracting many to the center. Whether to enjoy the company of others or to help prepare and distribute the food, people came in swarms to the center. Throughout the day, anybody would be allowed to come and go as they please. Once someone arrived, escorts would lead them to a table to be seated, and take their order of turkey, mashed potatoes, yams, salad, green beans, stuffing, and choice of drink. Volunteers would then bring their food to the table and leave them to eat and chat away with others. Meanwhile, away from the bustling kitchen and conversing patrons, a singing group that had donated their time towards the cause stood on a small stage and provided live entertainment. To describe the scene would be to see a homey and warm room with smiling faces and an overall comforting aura. It amazed me that every year for over thirty years, the founders of this cause had fed thousands of people each Thanksgiving.
At the volunteer center, I thought it was beautiful how the volunteers didn’t seem to all be the same, as there were seniors, teenagers, strangers, and friends, all working together and joining people for the holidays. I even recognized several people from the singing group. The fact that the community center was filled to the brim by a mosh pot of people astounded me, because of how genuine and kind-hearted each person was. I loved that people I recognized, and people I didn’t, were both doing things for their community on this holiday. The happy and elated looks of each person we served created a warm and wonderful feeling in my stomach that not even the sweetest pumpkin pie could fill.
After helping out with this project, there is no doubt that I want to be able to do this again, whenever I can. Thanksgiving is about being thankful, yes, but I think that we should be thankful constantly and year-round. This experience gave me great joy, because I was able to thank and give back to the community and the people who live in it. I sincerely believe this is the most meaningful Thanksgiving I have lived for, but it certainly won’t be the last.