The holiday season is a time for giving — for paying it forward to thank and acknowledge those who have been kind to us. Of course, being generous makes us feel good. We asked psychiatrist Dr. Louis Cady of the Cady Wellness Institute to explain why we get a charge from doing nice things for other people.
“We are empowered by helping others — not because we do not feel worthy inherently, but because we see an opportunity, and we strongly move forward to take that opportunity to make the world better for someone we may never meet,” he says. “The brain endorphins released are just the icing on the cake. Soundness of mind and the availability of resources that we have to give — that is the real blessing this season.”
Here is a small sampling of how you can get those endorphins moving this year.
Participate in a Charity Run/Walk
‘Tis the season to run! With Evansville races such as the Old National Turkey Day 5K (Nov. 22) and the Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis (Dec. 8), as well as the Turkey Trot 5K (Nov. 22) in Henderson, Ky., there are plenty of opportunities to give back by raising awareness for important issues. Whether or not you’re athletically inclined, you can always help out.
Join a Board of Directors
Do you have a soft spot for a specific organization? By joining the board of directors you become knowledgeable on its mission, as well as serve as an ambassador to the public. Lynn Miller-Pease, executive director of nonprofit organization Leadership Evansville, understands the benefits of being community-centered. For joining a board, she says it’s important to find an organization that suits your passions, determine how your skills can be put to use, and contact the president or executive director to make a commitment. To learn more about the many missions of area organizations, contact Leadership Evansville at 812-425-3828 for advice.
Adopt a Family for Christmas
Through the Evansville Rescue Mission, you can participate in the Christmas Adopt-A-Family program. Caught up in buying gifts for our loved ones, it’s easy to forget those who can’t afford to exchange gifts. The Rescue Mission offers the opportunity to buy gifts for those needy families, making their Christmas just as bright as yours. To sign up, visit www.2rescue.org. For more information, call 812-421-3800 or email email@example.com.
Rescue an Animal
When looking for a furry family friend, it’s easy to overlook pet rescues. Filled with sweet animals that have fallen on rough times, adopting from a rescue lets you provide a loving home for an animal lacking in proper love and affection. There are plenty of area rescue options, including Animal Care & Control (812-435-6015), the Vanderburgh Humane Society (812-426-2563), and P.A.A.W.S. No-Kill Animal Rescue (812-490-1039) in Newburgh, Ind. Also, check out this issue’s story, “Give a Dog a Chance”, for information on Evansville’s rescue center It Takes a Village.
Throw a Card Shower
If you walk into any Hallmark store and mention a card shower, they’ll know what you’re talking about. If someone has a special day coming up, is battling an illness, or has just achieved a goal, an event can be organized online to invite people to send that individual a card, resulting in a flurry of mail and a lot of joy. For more information on card showers, visit www.hallmark.com.
Bake and Share Treats
Sometimes, all someone may need is a fresh-baked cookie or a scrumptious piece of pie to brighten their day. You could take treats to churches, nonprofits, or even just a lonely neighbor. This pumpkin pie recipe from Cheryl Mochau with Cheryl Really Cooks! could provide a wonderful opportunity to pay it forward:
Crusty Leaf Pumpkin Pie
• 1 & 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon of salt
• 2/3 cup of coconut oil
• 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
• 4-5 tablespoons of cold water
• 1 egg
• 2 tablespoons of cold water
• 30-ounce can of Libby’s Easy Pumpkin Pie Mix
• 2/3 cup of evaporated milk
• 2 large eggs, beaten
Combine the flour, salt, and oil in a large mixing bowl. Blend with a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the vinegar and half the water, stir, and add more water. If the mixture is too dry, add water, if too wet, add flour.
To roll out the crust, sprinkle a clean work surface with about a quarter cup of flour, place the ball of dough on the surface, and roll out flat to a thickness of a quarter-inch and 3 inches larger than the pie pan. Place the crust in a 9-inch pan and trim the edges of excess dough. Using the leftover dough trimmings, roll them flat again (about a quarter-inch thick) and cut leaf shapes by hand or with a cookie cutter.
Make an egg wash with the egg and 2 tablespoons of water. Brush the crust area with the egg wash where you want the leaf shapes, and “glue” them in place. Brush more of the egg wash over the whole pie shell and let it dry while preparing the filling.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Using a wire whip, mix the pumpkin, milk, and eggs in a large bowl. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie shell and bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees for an additional 50-60 minutes, or until the pie filling no longer moves when gently shaken. Cool for 2 hours before cutting.
For more information on Cheryl Really Cooks!, visit mochau.com/cherylreallycooks.