Gluttony and greed are typically the main hallmarks of Thanksgiving and Black Friday, but they certainly don’t have to be.
While devouring a plate full of hot food and shopping for the hottest items can provide a dose of satisfaction, nothing compares to giving back.
There are endless ways to volunteer or donate your time around Thanksgiving. Here are a few ideas:
Run in a Turkey Trot race
It has become a tradition for some in the United States to participate in Turkey Trot races around Thanksgiving. Not only do they help you burn off the calories from all the food, the proceeds from many races are donated to local organizations to help those in need.
These types of races vary in names and length. They’ve also been called things like “Drumstick Dash” or “Mashed Potato Mile." Most Turkey Trots are in the 3-to 5-mile distance category, but some are longer or shorter.
Volunteer your time
If running’s not your thing, there are other ways to get out and help your community. The amount of opportunities can be overwhelming, but resources like VolunteerMatch.org can help match you with an opportunity near you that matches your skills and interests.
Everyone deserves a hot meal on Thanksgiving. Sadly, not everyone has family to celebrate with or can get out of the house to cook a meal themselves. That’s where organizations like Meals on Wheels come in. In addition to donating your time, you can also contribute food to your community’s branch as well.
Donate to local food banks
Donating to food banks is a great way to give back any time of the year, but especially around Thanksgiving. Organizations like Feeding America make it super easy to find a food bank near you to donate to. The Feeding America network secures and distributes 4.3 billion meals each year through food pantries and meal programs in the U.S.
Make a monetary donation
If you can’t make time to volunteer with an organization in person, you can make a donation. But before you donate though, make sure the charity you choose is legit by verifying it through online vetting tools, like the Better Business Bureau’s Give.org.
Help military families
Unfortunately, military families can struggle to make ends meet. That’s where Operation Homefront steps in. Its annual Holiday Meals for Military program began on Nov. 14.
“The program provides lower- and mid-grade ranking military families with all the grocery items necessary for a full holiday meal, helping to ease a widely felt financial burden and to make the holiday season brighter for those who sacrifice so much.”
Since the program began in 2009, more than 100,000 meals have been provided to military families across the country. Click here to learn about how to donate or volunteer with the organization.