Mind & Body
7 Ways to Give Back to Your Community This Thanksgiving
11/2/2017 4:16:08 PM
Give Back

Giving back to the community is always important, but this is especially true around Thanksgiving. While most people look forward to spending time with family and friends feasting on turkey and stuffing and watching the parades and football games, for others it’s a very different story. Many people are alone this time of year. Others are homeless. Some are sick.  Sadly, not everyone has a place to go and people with whom they can spend the holiday.   

Many people want to make a difference this time of year, but they’re not sure what to do and how to help. The first thing that comes to mind for most people is serving food at a local soup kitchen or shelter. This is indeed important because these organizations rely greatly on volunteers; but having a large number of people show up to help on the holiday can be overwhelming. With that said, there are several other ways to help your community.

Extend an invitation

Thanksgiving is a time to come together with friends and family, but not everyone has that opportunity. Is there someone you know who will be alone this year? Could you invite that person to spend Thanksgiving in your home? Perhaps it’s a neighbor who is a recent widow, someone who just went through a divorce, a military family who can’t all be together this year, or anyone who lives by themselves and has no family.

Visit patients in a hospital or nursing facility

Nobody wants to spend Thanksgiving stuck in a hospital room, but unfortunately, it happens. Visit local hospitals and assisted-living facilities. Find out when visiting hours are and make the rounds visiting people who can’t be at home this year. Sitting and having a conversation will be the highlight of the day for many of these people.

Donate blood

The American Red Cross says that every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood. This Thanksgiving, give back to the community by donating the precious gift of life. Blood donations are a critical part of saving lives.

Thank law enforcement and military

This holiday season, thank your local police officers and members of the military. Without them, you wouldn’t have the freedom you enjoy every day in this country. Visit the local police station with pastries and coffee to show your appreciation to the men and women who protect the community and can’t spend Thanksgiving with their families. Send letters to our servicemen and women stationed overseas who can’t be at home for the holidays. Or the next time you see a police officer patrolling your street, simply go up and say thanks for all that they do. Don’t forget our firefighters, too.   

Give clothes, not food

There are plenty of shelters and soup kitchens that offer meals on Thanksgiving. A better way to give back is by donating clothing. You can also donate jackets, sweaters, scarves, and gloves.  Many organizations collect these items.

Volunteer

Whether it’s with a local library, religious organization, school classroom, community nonprofit, or wherever, give the gift of your time and volunteer. Many organizations rely heavily on volunteers. Even committing to as little as one or two hours each week can make a huge difference.
   
Do something nice for a stranger

There’s no better time than Thanksgiving to do something nice for a stranger. Let the person with the screaming baby behind you in line at the supermarket go ahead of you. Leave a few extra dollars for the waitress who is obviously having a rough day. Help a senior citizen cross the street. Any small act of kindness can be a big deal to someone else. Doing something nice for someone you don’t know is a great way to have an attitude of gratitude this holiday season.

Above all else this Thanksgiving, perhaps one of the best ways you can give back and get into the spirit of the holiday is to simply say "thank you” to all the special people in your life. We live in a fast-paced world and often take things for granted. Take a few minutes this Thanksgiving to say thank you to your spouse, children, parents, boss, neighbors, friends, and other meaningful people in your life.
Posted by: Mary Wong | Submit comment | Tell a friend

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