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What comes to mind when you think of a Thanksgiving Day celebration?

Family? Food? Football? Those are, of course, the most common associations.


Maybe a simultaneous combination of the three? "Jimmy, don't f*%# this up! There's an entire turkey dinner riding on this play." Photo by Fort George G. Meade Public Relations Office/Flickr (altered).

If we're lucky, our jobs are the furthest things from our minds on Thanksgiving.

But with companies vying for a chunk of that sweet, sweet holiday spending, Thanksgiving has devolved into something more like Black Friday Eve, putting millions of workers on the clock instead of with their families.

"No, ma'am. These are tears of joy. I want nothing more than to help you find the perfect shower head. On Thanksgiving." Photo via iStock.

Amid the chaos of the season, it can be easy to forget that the folks helping us are people, too. People who would almost certainly rather be eating with their families than feeding our voracious consumer appetites on Thanksgiving Day.

A growing movement wants to "save" Thanksgiving by pressuring companies to close for the holiday.

Bill Nichols' wife has worked for JCPenney for over 30 years. After decades of loyalty, you'd figure she would have the pick of the crop when it comes to holiday schedules.

But she's working this Thanksgiving — and not by choice.

Photo by Azt3r1x/Wikimedia Commons.

Angry and disappointed, Nichols started a petition on Change.org calling for JCPenney to close for Thanksgiving, and so far, he has more than 80,000 signatures. He hasn't heard from the company, and he's not holding his breath for them to do the right thing.

But he's not going quietly. "Our values of family are given up one step at a time," said Nichols. "Being open on Thanksgiving Day is one of those steps, and I will not accept it without voicing my opinion."

We asked him what he thinks is the best way to get involved beyond signing a petition. His answer was simple: "Don't shop on Thanksgiving Day."

JCPenney isn't the only company being targeted. According to Shareeza Bhola, senior communications manager for Change.org, almost 100 petitions have been launched against companies like Target, Walmart, and Macy's for opening on Thanksgiving.

"Save Thanksgiving" petitioners have also found surprising allies within the retail community.

Bhola points to a list of national retailers that announced they're closing on Thanksgiving Day. But one company is going even further.

Photo by Chris Phan/Flickr.

Outdoor gear co-op Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) is staying closed through Black Friday. If you're wondering why, their 30-second ad pretty much speaks for itself.

They want customers to #OptOutside by venturing into nature instead of shopping malls on Black Friday and to share photos and stories to inspire others to do the same.

As a reminder of what people lose when they have to work on holidays, Change.org made a video with some folks who know what it's like.

One participant, Jessica Risco, worked in food service and retail for 10 years. She told Upworthy that during the holidays she and her coworkers often had to choose between their economic security and their families.

All GIFs from Change.org/YouTube.

"For a lot of people," Risco says, "it's the choice between paying bills and maintaining employment and being with family and friends."

Brandon Worthy is an Iraq war veteran who spent a few holidays on active duty, which gave him greater appreciation for family time.

"I was deployed in Iraq … I spent a couple of holidays over there, including Thanksgiving. When the holidays come around, where it's all about family ... you really, really take it seriously, because everything is precious."

He tells Upworthy he'd like to see more "compassion for those who wish to spend their holidays with their families" and more peaceful protest against companies that can — but don't — offer their employees that simple dignity.

Another participant, a retail worker named Tre', says he doesn't mind working holidays, but he wants shoppers to bear in mind the sacrifice he makes to be there for them.

In other words, don't be a jerk. There are enough of those in the world. Among them are the kinds of people who make other people work on Thanksgiving.

Watch the video by Change.org:

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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