This year, in my field placement at UNC Family Medicine, I had the opportunity to help host around 40 of our patients for a warm Thanksgiving dinner. Planning for the event lasted the majority of the fall semester with new tasks cropping up weekly. Early on in our planning work, I worried that I would be like Snoopy and scrambling to make enough toast and popcorn to feed our guests.
But on Wednesday night, our patients were treated to warm turkey, side options ranging from the mainstream to the more exotic, a multitude of desserts, and even hot pizza for the kids in attendance. Additionally, we collected enough canned goods with the UNC School of Social Work, UNC School of Public Health Student Government, PORCH organization in Carrboro, and a collection site at UNC Family Medicine Clinic, that we were able to send each patient or family home with two full bags of groceries.
While so many of the guests I talked to were thankful for our efforts, I really feel that I have just as much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. In planning the event, I worked with a small team of committed individuals who were determined to host the best Thanksgiving dinner possible. I have the resources and abilities to make connections in the community and solicit donations. And most importantly, the patients that I work with and those who attended are gracious in allowing me to be part of their lives and part of their experiences at UNC Family Medicine. Despite my role as an MSW student intern, some of the people in attendance at our Thanksgiving dinner have trusted me and opened up to me and allowed me to continue growing in my chosen profession. And for that ability and opportunity to connect with people, I am most thankful.