What do you get when you combine two Dublin families, a Facebook account and a desire to help support children affected by the terrible typhoon in the Philippines?
You get more than 80 people who recently came together to help support the organization Kids Against Hunger with a big food packing party and a perfect story for Thanksgiving.
"Each year my father-in-law asks each of our four kids to donate to a charity for his Christmas gift," said Maggie Jenkins, of Dublin, who along with husband Jason, and Jeff and Gina Hancher and their children and more than 70 others packed dozens of food packages.
"We wanted the kids to take a physical part in helping others. We made a donation to Kids Against Hunger as a gift to my father-in-law and the kids get a chance to see how blessed we really are and to feel like they are helping others," she said.
Showing the power of social media, the two families had to do little more than open the event up to their respective Facebook friends with online notification, and that was the catalyst for the full-house who showed up from Dublin and surrounding cities for the packing party at the charitable organization's Pleasanton location.
According to the nonprofit's website -- www.kidsagainsthunger.org -- since its inception, the organization has provided more than 200 million meals to children in 60 different countries.
The mission statement of Kids Against Hunger, a humanitarian food-aid organization, states that it "is to significantly reduce the number of hungry children in the USA and to feed starving children throughout the world. Kids Against Hunger is not affiliated with or restricted to a particular religious group and does not discriminate on any basis when distributing its meals."
The organization is based in Minnesota, with affiliates across the country, including Pleasanton, from which it does fundraising and awareness outreach to local churches and community organizations. In fact, it was at Cornerstone Church in Dublin where the two families first heard about Kids Against Hunger and did a previous, albeit much smaller, packing party.
The families weren't sure at first just how much community support they would receive, and were very pleasantly gratified to see the interest expressed by so many local volunteers.
"I continue to be overwhelmed by the way our community comes together to help those in need. I feel blessed by God our kids are growing up in such a supportive neighborhood with good schools and great people," said Maggie Jenkins.
Thanksgiving Fast Facts: And finally, at the risk of sounding like the back of a Snapple bottle cap, here are a few facts about Thanksgiving that you can ruminate on while you are cooking or after having devoured your turkey dinner -- at least, according to the websites www.education.com and www.about.com.
Many people believe that the pilgrims and Native Americans held the first Thanksgiving and that it was held every year thereafter. In fact, there is debate among scholars as to who held the original celebration. And, it wasn't until 1863 that Abraham Lincoln, dealing with the prospect of a nation divided by the Civil War, instituted the federal holiday.
There is actually reportedly a butterball (larger weight turkeys) fresh turkey shortage this year, meaning many of you went the frozen route as part of the estimated 675 million pounds of turkey expected to be consumed today across America.
And finally, don't blame the festive bird for your feeling sleepy after your dinner. It's popular to sound all scientific and to say that turkey contains a chemical compound called L-Tryptophan that makes you sleepy. Unfortunately, that's only partly true. Turns out that unless you're eating multiple pounds of the bird, there's not enough chemical to actually get you tired.
What's likely happening, say the scientists, is that a typical Thanksgiving dinner is loaded with carbohydrates that in turn release the level of the amino acid compound leading to what chemists call "serotonin synthesis," aka sleepiness.
Contact Alan Elias at email@example.com.