Often associated with family and food, November is also a time of giving thanks and generosity. Thanksgiving is usually celebrated surrounded by loved ones and lots of delicious food, but. some are not as fortunate. In line with the seasonal spirit of giving back, here are some ways to contribute to the community this holiday:
- Homeless shelters across the US are always in need of extra volunteers, making volunteering at one a great way to help the local community. Many people go out and serve on Thanksgiving Day, however many shelters need volunteers year round. Spend a free afternoon at the homeless shelter or soup kitchen by serving and cooking food for those who need it the most.
- Meals on Wheels is a non profit that serves more than 2.4 million seniors each year, providing warm food, a friendly face, and a safety check to seniors who may have difficulty getting around. With nearly 5 million seniors facing hunger in the United States, a great way to give your time this holiday would be volunteering with this organization. Each visit is, at most, an hour and a half. Volunteers can sign up as individuals or groups in addition to donating.
- Turkey Trots are long distance walks or runs held every year on or around Thanksgiving Day across the county. As one of the oldest races in the country, with the first race being held in 1896, Turkey Trots have historically benefitted local YMCA communities. Many even wear fun costumes while participating. This is a great way to burn calories and bring the community together for a good cause. To find one near you, check out this link.
- Homefront America, a non-profit organization that supports military families, runs its own Thanksgiving program called “Giving Thanks to Heroes”. It supplies military families with Thanksgiving dinner including all the sides, pumpkin pie, and a redeemable certificate for a turkey at local grocery stores. The program helps over 250 families stationed at the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton and other military communities. Donations are accepted online or by check in the mail.
- Giving Tuesday, taking place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, also provides opportunities to give back. This day is also known as National Giving Back Day. #GivingTuesday brings together many non-profits, organizations, businesses, and individuals around the country to create a simpler way to give back. Founded in 2012 in New York, #GivingTuesday is in over 150 countries and has seen over 300M online donations in 2017 to various nonprofits. The website includes hundreds of nonprofits to get involved with, both as a group or on your own.
There are so many more ways to give back this holiday season beyond this list, so investigate what’s going on near you to give back. This November, take a break from the grocery shopping and the cooking and the deal-hunting to give some time to those in your community who need it. Give thanks for what you have, and don’t hesitate to share it with others who don’t.
by Anisha Wilson