Photo credit by horneumc
Thanksgiving is a holiday for spending time with your family and reminding yourself about the positive aspects of your life. Some people take this a step further. Volunteering to help your fellow person on Thanksgiving is certainly a noble gesture. If you're willing to spend Thanksgiving volunteering, here's a look at a few great places to start.
Soup Kitchens - This is sort of the classic volunteer place on a Thanksgiving. It makes a lot of sense. After all, Thanksgiving is typically celebrated with a large meal. What better way to show your respect for other humans than to serve a big, free meal? Soup kitchens are in most major cities and are always looking for volunteers. You may not serve food--you could be washing dishes or preparing something. Be prepared for occasionally messy work. Thanksgiving is a very busy day for soup kitchens. You're very likely to come home tired. However, it's extremely rewarding work. You can rest knowing that you helped feed another person.
Catholic Work Houses - Don't let the "Catholic" part scare you if you're not religious. A friend of mine who works at one of these points out that "you don't have to be Catholic, and you really don't have to work." She was being modest on the second point. Catholic work houses organize tremendous community efforts to help the less fortunate. They help people find jobs and get back on their feet. They also help people with addiction issues and the mentally handicapped. What's more, they're always looking for help, particularly near the holidays. Catholic worker houses are great places to call on or around Thanksgiving. Just do a Google search for "Catholic worker house" and the name of your nearest major city. Different houses have different rules and methods, so be sure to call before you show up.
Canned Food Drives - Boy Scouts and other organizations often hold canned food drives. These help families greatly, especially in tough economic times. You can help around Thanksgiving by volunteering to organize, count, or collect cans. If you own a home, offer your home as a meeting place. You could also simply go buy a few bags worth of canned foods for another family to enjoy. It's another very rewarding volunteer opportunity. The great thing about canned food drives is that while they require a lot of work, they're usually not hugely strenuous.
Senior Citizen Centers - Call a nursing home or senior citizen center in your area to see if they offer volunteer opportunities. Most of them do. All they need is someone to visit the seniors and keep them company for a little while. You might eat a Thanksgiving dinner with some elderly people or play a game or two. It's one of the easiest volunteering opportunities available. It's also immensely psychologically helpful for the elderly. Many people in nursing homes no longer have families to spend the holidays with. Giving them a bit of your time will mean the world to them.