Struggling Family Thankful for Kindness of Strangers

Reader shares the story of a Thanksgiving made special by the kindness of strangers.

Thanksgiving Dinner

The kindness of strangers allowed Ursula and her family to celebrate Thanksgiving with a bountiful holiday dinner.

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Many years ago, when we were a young couple with two small children, ages 2 and 4, we practically lived from hand to mouth. My in-laws were about as poor, so we didn’t expect any help from them. My parents lived a great distance away, and I was too ashamed to let them know about our situation.

We ate a lot of hot dogs and macaroni and cheese. And we never ate out!

My husband was trying to earn a living with an old wreck of a dump truck, but the thing was constantly breaking down, and it took almost all the money we had to have it fixed. The truck also was our only mode of transportation.

Thanksgiving was approaching, but for us, it meant nothing special. We would probably be eating the usual hot dogs, with a bowl of Jell-O as a special treat.

The Kindness of Strangers During Tough Times

We lived in the country, and we always used the back door because the driveway led to it. That year, the evening before Thanksgiving, I stepped outside to take a bag of trash to the barrel and almost tripped over something. It was nearly dark, and I had to bend down to see what it was. I could hardly believe my eyes. There sat a large basket loaded with food.

It was heavy, so I called to my husband to carry into the house. Once inside, we discovered two loaves of bread, some butter, several cans of vegetables, a can of cranberry sauce, and, way at the bottom, a large turkey. There was so much I can’t remember it all, but it was everything we needed to fix a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner — everything except potatoes.

A little while later I remembered that I hadn’t taken the trash to the barrel. By now it was dark, so I had to turn on the yard light — and that’s when I spotted a small bag of potatoes sitting on the porch.

That Thanksgiving, we had the best dinner I can remember.

We weren’t able to thank our benefactor(s), though, because we never found out who had been so generous in helping a struggling young family. Whoever it was, we are forever grateful.

Coffeyville, Kansas

Read more tales of generosity by CAPPER's readers in Stories of Helping Others.