Count Your Turkeys and Your Blessings

All about the Great Thanksgiving Project and giving back.


Alongside the aroma of freshly baked pies and the colorful display of falling leaves comes the season of thankfulness. People all around the country have been showcasing their thankfulness in a multitude of ways. Whether it’s writing a letter, verbally telling someone, or even showing their appreciation through their actions, people are going out of their way to demonstrate their gratitude for the life that they have.

Another common way to give thanks is through giving back to the community. This year, I was fortunate enough to partake in the annual Great Thanksgiving Project.

Held by the Bridgeport Rescue mission, the Great Thanksgiving Project focuses on providing families with delicious turkey dinners and delectable sides for Thanksgiving. Running since it earned its official title in 2013, the organization has now been able to spread their reach outside of their own community and into other towns like Norwalk, Stamford, New Haven, Ansonia, and Waterbury. Through the help of many volunteers, the Bridgeport Rescue Mission was able to serve over 500 families in Norwalk alone. 

Sean Lenanhan was a volunteer at this event, as well as volunteering for The Great Thanksgiving Project for the past five years. When asked about his personal experiences about the events over the years, he responded,“…at the Harbor Yard Arena in Bridgeport, I was the ‘matchmaker’ introducing clients to their ‘personal shoppers’ (aka volunteers) who walked them through the racks of winter coats to find what they needed for themselves and their families. That day was particularly cold out, and some of the clients had been waiting outside in line for hours to get in. Not one person complained, but rather they were so grateful and joyful to receive this assistance, and actually began singing Christmas carols in line at one point. That gave me the chills – I knew from that point forward I always wanted to be a part of this effort moving forward during Thanksgiving week for as long as I’m able to.”

With the passing of Thanksgiving comes the wondrous winter season. The opportunities to volunteer within the community are only increasing as Christmas approaches rapidly. The emphasis on giving back is only becoming greater as the needs and struggles of some people within the community become more evident. There are multiple different ways in which you can volunteer, making it easy to surround it with something you are passionate about. 

“Love children? Find ways to volunteer with them… Have a special relationship with a grandparent or the elderly…? Find a nursing home nearby and see if you can be a volunteer.. Feel there is injustice or inequity in the world…? Find a way to volunteer with the underserved/ marginalized communities,” claimed Sean Lenahan, “When you find what you are personally passionate about, and then connect in a way to volunteer, you will find the experience much more fulfilling and enriching, and are more likely to stick with it.”

Once you find a place in the community that you would like to give back, don’t hold back as there is no such thing as being too generous or volunteering too much. Information about different charities are just a click of a button away, so don’t be afraid to reach out to organizations for details. I hope to see you out there this season!