Serve More Than Turkey This Holiday
Thanksgiving is on the horizon and there are many things that come to mind – Turkey! Stuffing! Family! Friends! Black Friday! And most importantly: Service!
Yes, Service. According to Feeding America, in 2010, 14.5 percent of households, roughly 17.2 million households, were food insecure. Thanksgiving is one of the few times a year when you can get the whole family together to partake in a service project and give back to your community. You have a team of volunteers at your disposal, and a few hours of doing good can go a long way to ensure that another family gets to have a Thanksgiving meal, as well.
Heck, it may also be the most physical thing you do all weekend, in between that 3rd serving of turkey and lining up for those Black Friday Sales. In addition, what better way to show that you are thankful for what AmeriCorps service has done in your life, than to pay it forward and continue providing service to all?
Here are some easy ways to volunteer this Turkey Day:
- Collect Donations
This Thanksgiving, you could have a full house of all your relatives and/or friends coming over to share in the festivities. Why not “charge” cover, like AmeriCorps Alum, Micheal Nealis is doing at his Cincinnati Turducken fest? And by cover, I’m referring to asking each of your guests to bring a non perishable food item. Most food banks will continue to collect donations long after Thanksgiving, as any leftover will continue to feed households. You could also collect monetary donations, as even a small donation can go a long way in alleviating another family’s hunger.
- Volunteer at your local Soup Kitchen
Every year, you’ll find that your local soup kitchen serves close to 3000 meals during the Thanksgiving holiday, which is not an easy task to take up. They will need plenty of help in and out of the kitchen to meet the high demand of meals, including food prep and dining room set up. Many kitchens can also use drivers to volunteer their services to help deliver meals to those who are not able to leave their home. Check with your local soup kitchen to see how you and your family can help!
- Volunteer at your local Food Bank
Similar to your local Soup Kitchen, the local Food Bank provides thousands of packaged meals to local households every year. You and your family can help with packaging and sorting meals, delivering meals, collecting donations, etc to help your local Food Bank serve their mission. Check with your local food bank to see what services are in need!
- Volunteer After Thanksgiving
One of the most important things to remember is to keep volunteering after the holiday is over. Most food banks and local soup kitchens need help all year round. Use the holiday as a platform to getting your family involved with service and considers making it a tradition every Thanksgiving. It is an easy way to continue living a Lifetime of Service and ensuring that your family does the same!
As you begin serving in ways in our communities, keep Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service on your radar, as one of the main focus area for the upcoming service day is alleviating hunger. Start having those conversations over the dinner table and debrief with your family and friends of the service you did this Thanksgiving and how you can continue serving into the next year.
How are you serving this Thanksgiving?