With Thanksgiving just around the corner, families and friends are gearing up for a memorable holiday. While the traditional way to celebrate Thanksgiving is with a lovely Turkey dinner, consider switching it up this year by giving back to the community. If you don’t know where to start, here are some of the best and most impactful Thanksgiving volunteer ideas to try out.
9 Thanksgiving Volunteer Opportunities for a Meaningful Holiday
Thanksgiving is a time for reflection, gratitude, and giving back to the community. It is a time to count your blessings and share them with those who are less fortunate. Although monetary donations can go a long way, not everyone has the extra funds to spare. Fortunately, one of the most fulfilling ways to celebrate this holiday is by volunteering your time and energy to help others in need.
There are countless Thanksgiving volunteer opportunities available that allow you to make a difference in the lives of others. Volunteering helps spread the spirit of gratitude and kindness. Here are the best Thanksgiving volunteer ideas you can participate in this coming Turkey Day.
1. Volunteer at a Food Bank
Food banks play a crucial role in providing meals for families and individuals who don’t have easy access to them. Volunteering at a food bank during Thanksgiving can make a significant difference. You can help sort, pack, and distribute food items to the needy. By contributing your time, you ensure everyone can enjoy a warm meal during this special holiday.
While you can look for local food banks in your area, Feeding America is an excellent place to start. Feeding America is a nationwide program that has branches in all 50 states. Make sure to call ahead of time, though, as Thanksgiving is the busiest time for food banks. They might already have more hands than needed. In that case, you might be better off donating food instead.
2. Lend a Hand at a Local Soup Kitchen
Helping at a local soup kitchen is another good Thanksgiving dinner volunteer idea. Soup kitchens often serve hot meals to the homeless and individuals struggling to make ends meet. By volunteering at a local soup kitchen, you can help prepare and serve meals.
You can also interact with less fortunate people, giving you a deeper perspective on their lives. It is undoubtedly an experience that will humble you and allow you to share the spirit of Thanksgiving.
Given the many soup kitchens scattered across the country, you might have difficulty searching for one. For an online directory of soup kitchens nationwide, click here.
3. Help Deliver Meals
Many organizations organize meal delivery services during Thanksgiving to bring warm meals. These organizations help bring food directly to the doors of people who can’t leave their homes. These people include individuals who are isolated or have mobility issues. Help them enjoy a Thanksgiving festival meal through a simple act of delivery.
Meals on Wheels is an excellent example of a nonprofit organization delivering meals to needy people. You don’t even have to make a huge commitment, so it’s perfect for those who don’t have much free time to spare. Just help out whenever you can.
4. Pack Hygiene Kits
Another way to volunteer on Thanksgiving day is to pack hygiene kits. Putting together hygiene kits for the homeless or those in shelters is a thoughtful method of giving back during the holiday season. Gather essential hygiene items like toothpaste, soap, socks, and more. Then, place them into kits and distribute them to homeless shelters. This may not seem like much, but it can go a long way.
5. Volunteer With the Salvation Army
The Salvation Army hosts various Thanksgiving events and initiatives to support the community. Volunteering with the Salvation Army can involve serving meals, organizing events, or assisting with their holiday donation drives. You can even volunteer your skills to train and provide aid to veterans, homeless people, and other victims. If you want to volunteer during Thanksgiving, consider this option for a truly impactful holiday.
6. Give Back at a Local Animal Shelter
Thanksgiving is a time to practice compassion — not just to people. Animals also need love this time of year. Animal shelters often welcome volunteers to help care for animals, clean their living spaces, or assist with adoption events. Spend some time at a local animal shelter and show them some love. You might even end up adopting a furry friend or two.
7. Offer Your Services at Goodwill
Another way to volunteer for Thanksgiving day is to offer your services at Goodwill. Around this time of year, Goodwill and other thrift stores see a spike in donations. You can volunteer and help sort through all the donations, assist with organizing the store, and even help customers.
Additionally, Goodwill also provides workforce-related training and services. You can lend your skills and expertise by providing job training and assisting with employment programs.
8. Join a Cleaning Initiative
Participating in a community cleaning initiative is an excellent way to give back to your neighborhood. You can help clean up parks, streets, and even beaches. Any public space that needs cleaning is a good target. This helps ensure a cleaner and more pleasant environment for everyone.
You can gather a group of volunteers and start the cleaning program yourself. However, there may already be ongoing initiatives in your local area, so research beforehand. This one is unique from the many community service ideas for Thanksgiving. That doesn’t make it any less important, though.
9. Visit a Nursing Home
The holiday season can be lonely for many senior citizens, especially those in nursing homes. Reach out to a local nursing home and arrange a visit to spend time with the residents. You can engage in conversations, play games, or simply provide companionship. Such a simple act that takes only a few hours of your time can do wonders and help brighten their Thanksgiving.
A Good Way to Spend Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is a time to express gratitude and spread love within our communities. Whether serving meals, offering your skills, or even spending time with the elderly, several Thanksgiving volunteer ideas allow you to make an impact this holiday season. Even the smallest actions can make a huge difference, especially to those who need it the most.