Margaret Nelson: View From the River – A thankful heart leads to a generous heart

  • Margaret Nelson

Published: 11/17/2022 9:00:33 AM

We are heading into what is sometimes referred to as the season of giving, which is preceded by the season of Thanksgiving.

Personally, it makes me kind of sad when I see the jump from Halloween directly to the December holidays, skipping Thanksgiving altogether. It seems that pausing to reflect on thankfulness is important to our perspective. Could it be that a thankful heart leads to a generous heart?

When I pause to consider what I am thankful for, I start thinking about what I have, not what I don’t have – a position of bounty, not lack. And then I want to share and be generous.

What and who am I thankful for?

I am thankful for encouragers. There are people I know, and I am sure you know them too, who are so encouraging. They are the ones who send you an email pointing out something that you did well. They give you a hug, a smile, a thumbs up -- just when you need it most. I have been the grateful recipient of encouragement. It is a priceless commodity. Encouragement can energize the weary, spark creative problem solving for the overwhelmed, bring a smile on a dark day. Encouragement comes not just in words, but also in actions.

I am thankful for volunteers. At The River Center, encouragers come in the form of volunteers that help with the wood bank, the tax program, art displays, the family programs. They volunteer to take down the swing set and shovel eight yards of bark mulch. They help on committees, our advisory council, the board. They give their time, their skills and their financial gifts. 

I am thankful for those who give financially to The River Center. Your gifts tell us that you believe in the work that The River Center does in our community. It tells us that you know we will put that money to good use, supporting individuals and families. It speaks of the trust you have in our staff and volunteers.

Financial support comes from individuals, from local businesses, from family trust funds and foundations, from service and faith organizations, from Monadnock United Way, New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and New Hampshire Children’s Trust. We receive gifts of all sizes, and the $5 donation is just as important as the $20,000 grant. Both are gifts from a sincere desire to make a positive difference in the lives of our neighbors and in this community.

I think about the everyday thankful moments. The joyful sounds of little ones in the Toddler Music group on Tuesday mornings. (A couple of weeks ago they were making music on pots and pans, and yes, I am thankful for that, too!). The Baby and Me group of parents and caregivers and their very little ones meeting together, laughing, problem-solving and learning. I am thankful as I observe parents and children meeting and playing in the warm fall sunshine. Seeing friendships develop, staff supporting weary parents, smiles and laughter.

Thank you for supporting The River Center. You send your donations, you tell others about what we do, you encourage the new parent to contact us, you volunteer your time. You encourage. And we, the staff, board, and volunteers of The River Center, are grateful for you.

Happy Thanksgiving.

For information, go to or call 603-924-6800.

Margaret Nelson is executive director of The River Center in Peterborough.


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