RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Thanksgiving is Thursday, and you know you have much for which you should be thankful.

So why not find a cause to donate time or money – or both – in order to help your fellow creatures great and small, human or otherwise?

You already do this? Well, find a way to give more. Take some time away from your HDTV, satellite radio, iPhone or SUV and lend a helping hand.

Wendy McGee, an executive with IBM’s Systems and Technology Group, sets an example we all should follow.

As Local Tech Wire reported Monday, McGee is a driving force behind the efforts of Cisco and IBM employees as well as their companies to bring the Carnivore Preservation Trust in Pittsboro into the 21st century with a new network, servers and multimedia communications.

McGee had already volunteered at the CPT before leading the drive to upgrade CPT’s systems. She did so even though she already had her hands full, working for IBM and raising two young twin boys.

But McGee put her love and concern for the big cats and other carnivores at the CPT before another trip to the mountains or the beach.

IBM encourages its employees to volunteer for the benefit of communities, as McGee noted to The Skinny. But the person who has to take the initiative is the individual workers.

McGee has stepped forward.

“I enjoy my volunteer work at CPT because I know they are doing the right thing,” she explained.

What about you?

“I am lucky to work for a company that really encourages volunteering through the OnDemand Community,” McGee added. “IBM has an army service core of 100,000 volunteers as of this week and so many of them are from RTP.

“The fact that IBM believes the same information technology innovations we work on can provide important breakthroughs for public and nonprofit organizations is demonstrated by the donation we helped facilitate with CPT. And that really helps encourage your volunteering commitments. But no matter where you work, you can check in and see what programs your own company offers.

“Look into what you are passionate about and get others involved – it really makes a difference.”

Amen to that, sister.

The CPT could use more help, by the way.

“As for CPT, it’s always looking for volunteers and donations,” McGee said. “Since it was founded in 1981, CPT has rescued animals that have been abandoned, abused or confiscated. The more hands helping for on-site tours and programs to educate the public on wildlife preservation, the better! The sanctuary takes care of as many as 85 animals from tigers, leopards to kinkajous, at a time, so there’s always so much to do.”

Ok, on Thanksgiving day if not sooner, count your blessings, enjoy your turkey – and then go find someone or a group to help.

You can make a difference – but only if you get off your duff, get out your checkbook and pitch in.

You won’t regret it.