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On Gratitude

Updated: Nov 30, 2021

By: Amy Greil, KCFB Board President

I recently dusted off an old companion article from the Journal of Psychological Inquiry titled “Savoring Life, Past and Present” that suggests gratitude has a lot to do with success.

Particularly in this holiday season, I’m thinking about the gratitude I feel for those supporters of Kenosha County Food Bank (KCFB) because, frankly, we’re all engaged in a struggle against status-quo forces that are contented with “business-as-usual” and blinded to a changing and opportune environment.

Goal Setting and Visioning

The article explores the space of goal orientation: In 2022, Kenosha County Food Bank has goals of operating a warehouse facility to distribute emergency food products to a network of food pantries that reach an average of 2,000 households monthly. That’s roughly 1 in 10 Kenosha County adults (and 1 in 5 youth) described as food insecure.

From the article, I have learned people who appraise goals — even very arduous ones — as challenges that are accompanied by optimism, versus unpleasant direness, are ultimately far more successful in those pursuits.

Launching and growing the nonprofit enterprise of KCFB, with a committed core of volunteers in March of 2020, is nothing if not an arduous goal. As a board member, KCFB keeps me up most nights and challenges me to push myself in unknown directions most days.

But gratitude is the guide here. The article talks of how grateful people not only seem to enjoy the psycho-social benefits of gratitude. The author surmises that grateful people may understand that the pursuit of goals in itself brings meaning and purpose to their lives—and successfulness. It is a virtuous cycle and I, most days at least, am rolled up in it and grateful for the strength to keep giving of myself.

Being a Beneficiary

In the same way, the article leans into the cognitive-affective response to the recognition that one has been the beneficiary of someone else’s goodwill. In this way, I bow down to the selfless contributions of others who are on this board of directors—twelve (and growing) other community leaders that are aligned to achieve a shared vision. Our board makes me a beneficiary of expertise that I can barely describe. Here is a heartfelt “thank you” to (in no particular order) Tina, Teri, Dan, Cameron, Scott, Magan, Fabiola, Patrick, Matt, Tanya, Sandi, Carolynn, co-conspirator Sharon, friends Tamarra and Denise, and supercharged volunteers Natalie, Karen and Adam (and while I’m at it, my husband Ben and mentor M.J.) for making me a beneficiary and joining me in this wild dream.


Finally, connectedness to others and community is, as the article describes, important because it points to the ability of grateful people to pay attention to the ways in which their lives are connected to other events and activities occurring in the social, natural and (for some people) supernatural world. What matters to me is that our sense of community can wholly be enhanced when we see our basic connection to — and reliance on — others.

Putting It All Together

Maybe I’m making this harder than it needs to be, or maybe this really is a healthy reminder about gratitude and giving. I just want to send KCFB into its next stages of growth now that we have laid so much groundwork. My hope is we can keep winning hearts and minds and achieve our 2022 goals.

Also, thank to all those who support this effort, we welcome you and thank you for considering joining us!

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