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As the holidays gear up soon, starting with Thanksgiving, the following are some things to consider as we start planning to celebrate with family and friends over the next two months. 

1. Be Truly Thankful — By the time this column hits the streets, over 225,000 Americans will have lost their lives due to the pandemic, and millions more will have had their world turned upside down due to unemployment, eviction, food insecurity, and/or the loss of loved ones. This Thanksgiving, maybe more than any other time in most of our lives, so many of us should be truly thankful for our families, health, prosperity, and opportunities. The reality is that the vast majority of us are truly fortunate, and we need to recognize that fact and if at all possible, be helpful to others who have so much less than ourselves.

2. Wear the Damn Mask — This isn’t about you; it is about everyone else who comes in contact with you. Listen to the doctors and scientists and not our ignorant president, and practice this simple act of caring every single day. You saw what happened due to the lack of masks and social distancing in the White House, the Rose Garden, political gatherings, etc. You have no excuse not to wear a mask; it is a fact that wearing a mask saves lives and takes so little effort. Therefore, wear the damn mask.

3. San Pedro Surf School — This pandemic has undoubtedly changed our daily habits, plans, and activities. Gyms are closed for adults, team sports are suspended for our kids, and the “Quarantine 15” weight gain is a much-too-common reality. Therefore, now is a perfect time to take up surfing. San Pedran Shaun Meadows’ dream is to pass down his surfing/local knowledge and appreciation of the ocean to the next generation. Too cold right now? Purchase a gift certificate as a Christmas present for your kids, relatives, friends, or yourself; it would be a truly special kind of gift. For more info, visit sanpedrosurfschool.com. Cowabunga…surf’s up! 

4. Flu Shots — If you haven’t done so already, now is a great time to get your flu shot. Why take the chance of getting the flu when at the same time, the COVID-19 virus is also in the air and wreaking havoc on so many lives and families? There is no vaccine at this time for COVID-19, but there are free flu shots available at your doctor’s office, Rite Aid, CVS, and so many other locations. Never before has a flu shot been so very important for you and your family. Don’t delay; if you have not done so already, get one today.

5. Donate — There are so many children and families who need our help, especially during this pandemic, and there is no better time than now to support them. Here at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Los Angeles Harbor, our Weekend Wellness program is feeding 450 families each weekend with enough food from Friday evening through Sunday, and we are hosting a special Thanksgiving distribution the Tuesday before that holiday. We are also sponsoring free and full-day programming for youth while schools are closed. Check us out at bgclaharbor.org. There are plenty of other worthy nonprofits providing free programs and services during this crisis period. There is The United Methodist Church (umcmission.org); Rainbow Services (rainbowservicesdv.org); Harbor Interfaith Services (harborinterfaith.org); the YWCA (ywcaharbor.org); and Toberman Neighborhood Center (toberman.org); just to name a few. Won’t you consider donating to one or more of us and help make these holidays truly special for those less fortunate? Wishing you and yours a most happy Thanksgiving and holiday season! spt

photo of san pedro today author Mike Lansing

Mike Lansing

Mike Lansing is the Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Los Angeles Harbor.

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