A white background with the text, “Volunteer this Thanksgiving.” there is a turkey in the middle.

How to Give Back This Thanksgiving

By Ally Bolender
Web Content Contributor

Now that Halloween is over, the next holiday coming up is Thanksgiving! And in the season of feeling thankful, it’s important to give back to your community.

A typical Thanksgiving meal, including appetizers and desserts, can reach up to 4,500 calories! That turkey coma makes it so easy to take food for granted.

Whether you’re away from your hometown and don’t want to spend Thanksgiving break alone, or you’re a longtime community member, you can be a part of organizations that provide peace of mind to families of your community this giving season. You don’t need to donate money, just time!

Two women wearing hair nets, aprons and green shirts. They are standing in a large kitchen, opening cans.
Volunteering is a rewarding way to spend your Thanksgiving and help your community. Image retrieved from Creative Commons.

If you’re seeking meaningful ways to volunteer, donate and spend time with others over this holiday, here are a few organizations to get involved with this Thanksgiving season:

1. Operation Turkey

Operation Turkey is a 100% volunteer organization that works to ensure that every family is fed for Thanksgiving. You can choose from so many jobs to work for Thanksgiving and the time leading up to it. Cooking, cleaning, delivering, packaging or plating – there is always a place for you.

Operation Turkey also hosts a special day for its volunteers called, “The Turkey Tailgate.” It is a time when volunteers come together the day before Thanksgiving to prepare for the event. Turkeys are cooked, donations are sorted and a lot of good times are shared.

Follow Operation Turkey on Twitter for updates and check out their website for how to get involved and directly do good for food-insecure families in San Marcos.

2.Turkey’s Tackling Hunger

A part of an organization? You should raise funds for Hays County Food Bank during the “Turkey’s Tackling Hunger” event. Between now and Nov. 27, Hays County Food Bank will be accepting donations to go toward meal boxes that are delivered to families in the community. Every little counts!

If you’re not in a position to make financial donations, no worries. “Turkey’s Tackling Hunger” will also need volunteers to deliver the dinners. Learn about how your organization can help out here and find out more about this event on the website.

3.New Braunfels Community Thanksgiving

The New Braunfels Community Thanksgiving is another event during Thanksgiving to volunteer for. The New Braunfels Community Thanksgiving provides meals to those in New Braunfels as well as in Comal and Guadalupe Counties from Nov. 22 to 23. Volunteers can help with food preparation, delivery, plating or just general assistance.

Their Facebook page is the easiest way to sign up and receive updates about the event. Last Thanksgiving, the New Braunfels Community Thanksgiving fed over 7,000 people, and we can reach more with your help!

4.Southside Community Center

Although this suggestion is not something you can technically do for Thanksgiving, it’s still something you can do that’s easy and extremely important. The Southside Community Center is in need of coat and blanket donations.

Go through your closet and donate anything you don’t need to the coat and blanket drive. The thrift shop is for providing the homeless with jackets and blankets for the winter. The weather has been cooling down, and there are some who are in need of protection from these dropping temperatures.

All donations can be taken to the Thrift Shop on 390 S LBJ Drive. There is also a separate rack for jackets that can be picked up at the store at any point.

5.Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center

Donating to an organization like the Hays-Caldwell Women’s Center (HCWC) is an opportunity to provide serious help to people in your community. The HCWC is a non-profit that helps victims of abuse. Shelters are always in need of new winter clothes and blankets. HCWC helps children of abuse and struggling families. It can be difficult to provide new jackets for growing kids every winter, so HCWC is asking for your donations.

Winter clothing and shoes ,new or gently used, for women and children of all sizes are on the HCWC’s list this season. So while you’re cleaning out your closet or packing up for winter break, take some of your extra items to HCWC where they will make a big difference. Before bringing donations to HCWC, call the Donations Coordinator during business hours at (512) 396-3404, ext 270.

Being able to get to know and empathize with your neighbors is a special feeling. You can be a valuable part in helping your community this holiday season. Bring your families and friends and have a good time, while doing good.

Featured image by Ally Bolender.

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