Where And How To Volunteer This Thanksgiving—No Matter Where You Live

Giving back year-round is important, but many feel especially called to do so during the holiday season, beginning with Thanksgiving. In the spirit of giving, we’ve rounded up some organizations that need your support around the holidays, ways you can find volunteer opportunities in your area, as well as other ways you can give back this Thanksgiving.
Things might be a little different this year due to restrictions from COVID-19. Do a little extra research to make sure individual organization locations are operating normally near you. (Looking for other charities you can donate to? Find some of the best ones here.)

Meals on Wheels.

This established organization brings nutritious meals to seniors who are at risk for hunger year-round, but they ramp up efforts around the holidays. You can find volunteer opportunities near you here.

Volunteer to go grocery shopping.

People in vulnerable populations might need your help to get groceries safely this holiday, especially during COVID-19. You can learn more about the volunteer process here. If you do, make sure you’re being particularly careful in regards to COVID-19 precautions both during and after your shifts.

Volunteer at or donate to a food bank.

Many local food banks see an influx of volunteers around the holidays, which can actually overwhelm them. Be sure to ask, specifically, what they need when you’re inquiring about volunteering. Maybe it’s just some donated supplies. Maybe it’s your time, but at a later date. Or maybe they could really use your time around the holidays. Find a food bank near you here.

Volunteer at a soup kitchen.

Again, soup kitchens might be a bit overwhelmed with volunteers around this time of year, but if they are holding any specific holidays meals, they might have room for more volunteers. Give them a call and see when they need you and what they need from you. You can find a soup kitchen near you here.

Find or start a clothing drive.

Thanksgiving marks a time when the weather gets cold and dangerous in many parts of the U.S. That’s why it’s so important to ensure those experiencing poverty or homelessness have warm clothing. Keep your eyes out for clothing drives near you or contact local organizations to see if you can help start one.

Make a monetary donation.

As previously noted, many organizations are overwhelmed with in-person volunteers during the holidays. If you can’t commit your time at the moment, or in the near future, a donation to a worthy cause can still go a long way. You can find some charities specifically focused on fighting hunger here.

Keep an eye out in your own community.

The best way to find out the needs of your community is by listening. So much of charity work happens at a local level, so that will be your best bet for finding the causes that have the most impact. Keep an eye out on bulletin boards and social media sites, and ask community leaders where the areas of greatest need are. People do the work year-round and the best thing you can do is amplify their voices and get involved where you can.

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