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Season’s Gratitude

We complain a lot, but sometimes we forget how fortunate we are and how much we take for granted. Do we have problems to solve and challenges to face in Alameda? Of course. But it’s easy to get caught up in a flurry of issues, large and small, often magnified or distorted by social media, and forget to be grateful for what we have.

Alameda Post - Alameda Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft
Alameda Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft leaving the USS Hornet after the Alameda Economic Forecast, October 6, 2022. Photo Maurice Ramirez.

Consider this: Did you wake up this morning? In a bed? With a roof over your head that wasn’t a car roof, a tent, or a bomb shelter? Did you wake up without foreign troops outside your door? Do you have the freedom to work, attend school, travel, worship, vote? Many in the world don’t share these freedoms.

When you turn on your faucets do you marvel at the clean water that emerges from the tap? Just don’t leave the tap running too long while you marvel. We’re fortunate that our water provider, East Bay Municipal Utility District, continually meets or exceeds safe drinking water standards. Residents in some other sites, such as Jackson, Mississippi and Flint, Michigan, are not so fortunate.

We have many reasons to be grateful—and gratitude has personal benefits. A study published by Harvard Medical School found that, “Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” (“Giving thanks can make you happier,” April 14, 2021.)

Help others

As we approach the Thanksgiving season, take time to be grateful for the benefits you enjoy, and find ways to help others who don’t share those advantages. Here are some local opportunities.

Alameda Post - the logo for Meals on Wheels. A little drawing of two people in an old car delivering food The Alameda Food Bank saw a huge increase in clients when the COVID-19 pandemic began. Now, with inflation, many rely on the Food Bank to help feed themselves and their families. Visit the Alameda Food Bank website to support their important mission.

Alameda Meals on Wheels volunteers deliver nourishing meals to homebound residents 365 days a year. To help pay for these meals or volunteer to deliver them, visit the Alameda Meals on Wheels website.

Christ Episcopal Church continues its Community Thanksgiving Dinner this year on November 24, a tradition dating back to the 1980s when the church hosted service members stationed at Alameda Naval Air Station. Dinner won’t be in-person this year, so volunteers are needed to help package and deliver meals and donations are needed to cover food costs which have increased significantly. Sign up to volunteer or donate at the Christ Episcopal Church website.

Keep it civil

We should all be horrified by the vicious attack last week on Paul Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. We are still learning about the assailant’s background and motivation for wanting to harm the Speaker, but it is clear that political discourse has become increasingly inflammatory in recent years. This trend is alarming because democracy requires an engaged citizenry, and physical or verbal attacks directed at elected officials discourage others from running for office, including at the local level. We can counter this trend by balancing conviction with civility, and being willing to listen and consider other opinions. Let’s protect our democracy.


Alameda Post - a ballot box
The ballot box at the Bay Farm Island Library/Park. Photo

Speaking of democracy, please be sure to exercise your right to vote on or before Election Day, Tuesday, November 8. You can drop off your completed and signed ballot 24/7 at one of Alameda’s three official Ballot Drop Box locations: City Hall, College of Alameda, and Bay Farm Island Library. You can also drop off your ballot, or vote in person at any Vote Center in Alameda County. If you are eligible, but not yet registered to vote, you can register and vote on the same day at an official Vote Center. You’ll find the locations of Alameda’s six Vote Centers and other important information at If you have questions, call the Alameda County Registrar of Voters at (510) 272-6973.

After you vote, track your ballot at Ballot Tracker. Your vote is your voice; make it heard!

Be Grateful. Be Civil. Be a Voter. Be Alameda Strong!

Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft is the Mayor of the City of Alameda. Reach her at [email protected].

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