Thanksgiving and health

Thanksgiving is about being together and feeling loved.

I have had the opportunity to interact with many homeless people in the past few months. I’ve learned people can find themselves homeless for a huge variety of reasons. Each story is unique. Thankfully, for many, homelessness is a temporary state while life turns around. The kindness, resources, and opportunities presented by other people often provide the fertile ground for those ‘turn-arounds’.

As Thanksgiving has been approaching, I have been asking about plans. I have been so happy to learn that each I talked with had a place to go for Thanksgiving. Most often it was a family member, other times a friend, or maybe a local outreach that was welcoming people in for a warm meal and time of fellowship.

I heard several stories of potluck meals planned with several people with limited resources coming together, each bringing one part of the traditional meal

In other stories, group members were from various cultures, so the ‘traditional’ meal would actually be a unique mixture of comfort foods from around various parts of the country and from around the world.

Traditions of Thanksgiving

The common element in each plan was more the gathering together than the specific foods. Those who couldn’t get to family were gathering with friends. Those who were new to the community were finding invitations to local ministries and outreaches. One local rescue mission was planning to serve over 36,000 meals.

The way my husband met my family was through a Thanksgiving meal. I lived within one hour of college. As a counselor (like a resident assistant)  I could only be gone from campus from 7am to 7pm. I was not the only person who had either limited time or an inability to get back to family for Thanksgiving. So, I invited home several other college students who needed a friendly place to celebrate. My parents, grandparents, brother, aunts, uncles, and cousins enjoyed meeting new people and welcomed them in. My future husband was just one of several visitors, but he made a good impression :-).

There were a couple of years after marriage when we were unable to get to our families for Thanksgiving due to work. We would fill our home with friends on those occasions. (And usually make fajitas rather than turkey because we like that better). I heard several such stories this year from others who were filling their houses with friends.

My conclusion is that it is the being together to share the gratitude and fellowship that are the real tradition. We all love to be loved.

Thanksgiving and Health

The sense of belonging and being cared for improves our health. Remember, health has many parts. A few of the main ones are your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Being around people who care for you, feeling valued, sharing in gratitude, and relaxing all touch on each of these components of health. Thanksgiving is a pretty healthy day!!! (In spite of the excess eating).

For more information about how Thanksgiving is related to health, please contact us at Meds MASH at 410-472-5078,, or We look forward to hearing from you!

For further application, check out my personal blog.