(NEWS10) — Thanksgiving is a time for gathering with friends and family and taking inventory of the things in your life for which you are truly grateful. For many, Thanksgiving is also a time to remember those who may not be as lucky, and for giving back to those in need.
Make giving back to your community a tradition this Thanksgiving with these ideas for spreading cheer and lending a charitable helping hand.
- Volunteer at a soup kitchen. This is what first comes to mind for many when considering volunteering on Thanksgiving. Spend your holiday serving food at a local soup kitchen. Many shelters and kitchens need help serving the crowds on Thanksgiving.
- Support the troops. Sponsor the cost of a phone call home, send letters and care packages, or call your local USO to find other ways to directly help those serving our country this holiday season.
- Deliver a Thanksgiving Meal to a home bound senior through Meals on Wheels. Nine million seniors face the threat of hunger, and millions more live alone in isolation. Find a local Meals on Wheels program near you and help deliver a Thanksgiving meal to a thankful senior citizen.
- Donate to a local food bank. Go check your pantry. See those cans of food? Chances are you could safely spare a few to help those who need a meal. Gather up some non-perishable food (GOOD food, not just the weird, old soup gathering dust on the back shelf for years…) and bring it to a local food bank.
- Donate blood. The American Red Cross estimates that someone in the U.S. needs blood every two seconds. Give back to your community this year and help save a life. All eligible individuals can make an appointment by using the free Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767).
- Help four-legged-friends in need. More interested in helping animals than people? Make use of the website Petfinder.org to find an animal shelter or rescue near you and ask how you can help. Some could use your time and your hands, and others may need monetary or equipment and pet food donations.
- Sponsor a local family in need. Sign up for Family-to-Family and send a family in need a monthly box of groceries. Options are available to split a sponsorship with another donor, help refugee families, and helping families living specifically in your area.
- Find a different cause. None of these causes pique your interest? Plenty of local organizations would love to have your help on Thanksgiving. Visit VolunteerMatch.org to find a cause near you. You can search by city, and even browse by cause, such as disaster relief, literacy, or hunger.