Compiled by Connie Holcombe, ASID, RID

Thanksgiving Day is a poignant occasion for many people to reflect on the many blessings we enjoy. It also serves as the perfect opportunity to express gratitude to the people in our lives who share in our joy and support us through hard times.
As you sit around the table with loved ones, admiring the lovingly prepared feast, I wonder if you would take a moment to appreciate the things many of us don’t have.

  • Be thankful if you don’t have an empty seat at your table where a child once sat, one who is lost to the winds of human trafficking, war, or disease.
  • Be thankful you’re not sitting at an unfamiliar table because tragedy struck, taking away your home, your refuge.
  • Be thankful your sense of security isn’t lost because of domestic abuse.

Countless people in our city are experiencing these trials, many without a support system like the one that will soon be gathered around your table.
Before you celebrate the many things you have to be thankful for, I wish you would consider ways to bring comfort to those with an empty chair, uncertain future, or soul-crushing grief.

For those wishing to become the warm hug, hot meal, or soft blanket to our neighbors facing these heartbreaks, here is a list of fantastic organizations in our city working to help people thrive in these hardships.

The Wellhouse – Odenville, AL
Wellhouse provides a safe place to live for children and women rescued from human trafficking. These victims receive medical, emotional, and mental care along with the friendship and mentorship on their restorative path. With residential facilities close to the Birmingham area, the Wellhouse has several opportunities for designers, design teams, and product manufacturers to impact the lives of these rescued women and girls directly. To volunteer yourself, your team, or products to a Wellhouse project, contact Brianna Pierce at for a list of spaces needing work.

Just Keep Smiling – Gardendale, AL
Just Keep Smiling provides financial aid and emotional support for families with critically ill children. The founders believe no parent should have to choose between work and spending those last few precious moments with their child. To volunteer, donate, or attend one of their fundraising events, visit

Operation Gratitude – National
Operation Gratitude provides American people opportunities to express thanks and boost morale to the first responders, troops serving abroad, veterans, military children, and wounded warrior caregivers. Significant impacts can be made by writing letters, hand-crafting a gift, or even providing a Beanie Baby for a servicemember’s care package.
To get involved, visit

The list could go on seemingly forever, with opportunities to volunteer at animal shelters, soup kitchens, companionship programs for the elderly, and many others. We at ASID Alabama hope each of us will find some small way this holiday season to restore faith in humanity. Just know that no gift, smile, or kind word will ever go to waste, and we’ll never know how much a small gesture can profoundly impact the life of another.

On this day of Thanksgiving, may your life be filled with blessings and your heart be filled with compassion.
Happy Thanksgiving