Common ground: prepare coffee bags for packing.

Common ground: prepare coffee bags for packing.

Today, many of us will gather with family and friends for the traditional Thanksgiving feast. We'll eat, drink, watch football and count our blessings. This is typically a day for gratitude, and at Beautiful Day gratitude is certainly on our minds. We have much to be thankful for. This year, as many resettlement agencies closed their doors, we decided to respond to declining national support for refugees by growing even stronger. And we are grateful for our many successes.

Our gratitude list is long, but here are three that stand out: First, we are grateful for our successful sales/marketing efforts. This year, we focused on expanding our retail presence throughout Rhode Island and our customers can now purchase our products in stores across the state. Plus, we have hundreds of new followers on Facebook and Twitter and the numbers are growing daily.

Second we are grateful to Bolt Coffee. Thanks to them, we have added coffee to our product line and you can now enjoy a nice cup of joe with your morning granola. Bottoms up!

Finally, we are grateful to you for your continued support. Because of you, we can continue to provide the services that will enable many refugee families in Rhode Island to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow in a place they can truly call home. We are grateful.

As we think about the meaning of Thanksgiving, we are reminded that we are commemorating a feast that began with the Pilgrims, our country’s first refugees. But what is less well-known is that the actual holiday was started by Abraham Lincoln in 1863 during the darkest days of the Civil War when our country was at its most divided. Lincoln recognized the power of gratitude to unite people because it reminds them of their common humanity. In his proclamation making Thanksgiving a national holiday, he wrote that the countless blessings that the country enjoyed, even in the darkest of times, needed to be “gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people.”

We are living in a time when national divisions appear to be everywhere. Yet all of us want similar things: love, security, a roof over our heads, good things for our children. We really do speak with "one heart and one voice" when it comes to our most basic hopes and dreams. As Lincoln acknowledged, it is possible to find common ground around gratitude. As we celebrate this uplifting day, let’s make an effort to remember all that we have in common with our neighbors, especially our newest neighbors. From all of us at Beautiful day, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

Written by Keith Cooper

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