The True Meaning of Thanksgiving: A Reflection

Thanksgiving was always a fun tradition in the Novack family. Growing up with parents in the restaurant business, I was always lucky to have some of the best cooks in the world at my disposal (LOL Thanks Mom and Dad!). As a child, I vividly remember my mother baking her famous sweet rolls and raspberry-apple pies, my father would be basting the turkey while sipping on his favorite vintage of Silver Oak, and my sisters would try to weasel their way out of doing the dishes, having that fabulous responsibility passed right over to yours truly :). We always lead our Thanksgiving dinners with a prayer or a speech which led to eyes watering and glasses clinking to the sound of cheers and praise, grateful to be together on a holiday where many families don’t have the luxury to do so. My father was an advocate of always bringing someone into our house who didn’t have a family and treating them as a member of our own. I held onto these traditions and took them with me to my current home in LA. Over the past few years, I adopted a woman into my home on Thanksgiving and Christmas named Rosemary. She was a lovely older woman with wild red hair and a fabulous outlook on life. She had lived well into her 90’s and it was only until this year, she finally passed away. I will always recall those few years with her because she was such a wonderful light in my life.

Taking all of these traditions with me, this year I’m spending the holiday giving back to the homeless community in LA. Thank heavens I found The Midnight Mission. When I first was researching around the city to see which shelter needed my help the most, I came upon this place and I loved the message behind it and the people involved. It was founded in 1914 to help men, women, and children who either have lost direction in life, suffer from mental illness, or struggle with substance abuse. They offer a 12-step recovery program, family living, job training, and education programs that help those reach and achieve a productive, self-supporting lifestyle. Located near Skid Row in Downtown Los Angeles, the Midnight Mission has been serving for over a century. That’s amazing! What they have discovered over this long history is that repairing the lives of formerly-homeless individuals is really about recreating their safety net. People experiencing homelessness and suffering from lifestyle disorders that keep them out of society need the Midnight to help them rebuild that safety net, which can include connections to career resources, mental health professionals and housing opportunities. The goal is a self-sufficient, secure, and successful future”- The Midnight Mission

For those who don’t believe in the power of social media, come talk to me. I started a fundraising campaign based solely off of my Instagram stories and was able to raise, with the help of many friends and fellow donors, over $450 worth of turkeys (26 turkey in total!)! What an amazing feat! I have listed below all of my fellow contributors to this wonderful cause and I only want to do more for the Midnight Mission in the future. After all, everyone deserves a great Thanksgiving!

From my family to yours!

Katie Novack

The Wonder List

  • If you would like to donate to The Midnight Mission, click HERE!!!

Special Thanks to all the Donors:

Alison Barker, Elizabeth Leon, Cesar + Elizabeth Emontano, Tricia Taper, Claudia Bermudez, Meg Novack, Guadalupe Ochoa, Jenifer Byington, Elizabeth Shamooni, Monique Urquidez, Nancy and Patrick Lumb, Erin Edwards, Lyda Bacon, Juli Jones, Angela Gaitan, Laura Leiva, Trishena Robinson, Cindy Mader, Brynn Cameron, and Summer Buchanan.

 We were able to donate 26 turkeys to the Midnight Mission!

We were able to donate 26 turkeys to the Midnight Mission!

 A friend in need is a friend indeed!

A friend in need is a friend indeed!

 Learning all about the mission from Ramon!

Learning all about the mission from Ramon!