It’s hard to believe it’s Thanksgiving already. I had a warning that it was coming. First the leaves started falling, and then a few weeks ago, nightfall began to arrive at 5 p.m. And it has gotten cold, despite the few days now of 60-ish temperatures.

Where’d the year go? I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready for winter. I’m definitely not ready for all the Christmas decorations already. All of it, too soon…

O.K. I spend an awful lot of time in this space grousing about something. It’s what news people do. There’s so much to worry about. So much that seems irreparably wrong. The start of the Holiday season doesn’t mean you forget those things, but you also need to spend a little time in the spirit of the season – thankfulness and charity.

People across the country will be doing many of the same things this week. Of course there will be turkey and football. But many are taking time to volunteer and to donate food to those who don’t have the comfort of a warm, family feast.

Chestnut Hill is no different, as anyone looking in the pages of this week’s edition will see. There are numerous stories of local institutions – Chestnut Hill Hospital and Springside School to name a few – who coordinated substantial food donation programs.

Face to Face, the program that serves so many of those in need in this community at its base in Germantown will be busy this week. A race to benefit the organization will begin Thanksgiving morning at the intersection of Northwestern Avenue and Forbidden Drive (or Wissahickon Drive/Lane, depending on who you talk to).

[The race begins at 9 a.m. Registration will begin at the location at 7:30. Runners can also call 215-849-0179 to register.]

In other news, Chestnut Hill Academy – both its faculty and extended school community of parents and students – has plenty to be thankful for after receiving a $2.2 million posthumous gift from the estate of Cyrus Nathan. Nathan’s generosity will help the school preserve its status as a top independent school in the future.

You may not have millions of dollars to give, but you can help your community this season. The Chestnut Hill Community Fund Drive, which raises money for dozens of good programs that benefit the community, including those that benefit people in need – from Meals on Wheels to Northwest Victims Services – is a worthy cause for anyone who’d like to help out at home.

The fund is looking for a modest $105,000 this year, an amount this community should be able to come up with easily. Though, perhaps that’s the fact that’s hurt it in the past. You can’t take it for granted that your neighbors will come through so you don’t have to. Look at it this way, if everyone in Chestnut Hill (according to the 2000 census we have a population just shy of 10,000) gave $10, we’d be there.

So there is plenty to be thankful for and plenty more to give. The weather might get nasty and the early nighttime might get you down, but fight it off. Get thankful. If I can do it, so can you.

Pete Mazzaccaro

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