Good Neighbors

8 Ways To Give Back On Thanksgiving

The best way to celebrate is by helping others - we'll tell you how.


Thanksgiving isn't just about eating turkey and watching football. Sure, that's part of it, but it's literally an entire day dedicated to expressing gratitude. And what better way to give thanks for all the blessings life has brought you than by helping others?

Here at Sparkt, we're all about kindness and community, so we wanted to give our readers a few ideas on how to make an impact this Thanksgiving. We promise you'll still have plenty of time for your after-dinner snooze.

#1. Deliver meals to people in need

Consider giving back by getting in your car this Thanksgiving. There are many organizations that offer meal delivery services and could use volunteers. The most popular is Meals on Wheels, which prepares full

Thanksgiving dinners and delivers them to the homes of families in need. You can search for the location nearest you on the organization's website . All it'll cost you is a full tank of gas and your time.

(Source: Meals on Wheels of Peters Township )

#2. Donate food

On a day that's also a celebration of all things food, you can show your appreciation by helping to keep people fed. There are many organizations that accept food donations or host food drives for the holidays. Contacting your local food bank to see what specific items they need is a good place to start. You can even host a Virtual Food Drive through the Food Bank for New York City and invite your family and friends to help you meet your goal.

#3. Serve dinner at a local soup kitchen or homeless shelter

A great way to celebrate a day of giving thanks is to actually serve others. There are many ways to volunteer your time at a local shelter or soup kitchen on Thanksgiving. You can help cook and serve the meal, source and organize supplies, set up the service area or meet and greet visitors. To find these types of opportunities, you can reach out to your local Salvation Army or visit VolunteerMatch . You could also check in with churches in your area to see if they need help.

(Source: Soup Kitchen in Provincetown )

#4. Run in a Turkey Trot

Gear up for the biggest meal of the year by burning calories and giving back at the same time. Most cities have an annual Turkey Trot or similar type of race to raise money for local charities and support good causes. Or, if lacing up your sneakers and pounding the pavement doesn't sound appealing to you, you can reach out about other volunteer opportunities. Do a search to find a Turkey Trot near you!

(Source: YMCA Turkey Trot )

#5. Send care packages to troops

We're a big fan of celebrating our troops here at Sparkt, especially around the holidays. Organizations like Operation Gratitude and Homefront America's Giving Thanks to Heroes program make it easy to write letters and purchase food and supplies for troops stationed nationally and overseas.

(Source: Operation Gratitude )

#6. Visit nursing home residents or veterans in your community

Sometimes the best way to give back is to just be there for someone. Whether it's your own relative who's spending their holiday in a nursing home, or a complete stranger without any family or friends to celebrate with, just having a conversation can make someone's Thanksgiving much more enjoyable. Just be sure to contact your local nursing home or veteran's center ahead of time for their visitors hours.

#7. Foster a pet for the holiday

Looking to host a furry friend for Thanksgiving dinner? Some animal shelters, like Richmond Animal Care and Control in Richmond, VA, offer a temporary foster program where people can pick up pets for the long weekend so they don't have to spend the holiday alone. (You can check out our story on RACC's program here .) Or, consider fostering a pet long term , or even adopt one. There's nothing that can make you feel more grateful, or drive you crazy, like a new pet.

(Source: RACC )

#8. Be kind and helpful with your own family.

Lastly, show your appreciation for the people who love you the most by simply being a good human. If you're not hosting, you can offer to help prepare dinner, bring a food item or drink for everyone to share, or take the lead on clean-up. Bring a gift for the host or a fun game to play post-dinner. And, by all means, do not bring up politics at the dinner table (just a little friendly advice!).

While we hope you'll take advantage of our list and find a great way to give back in your community this Thanksgiving, there are tons of other opportunities to show your appreciation. There's no gesture too small when it comes to helping others, whether it's during the holiday season or anytime.

From all of us at Sparkt, we wish you and your loved ones a happy Thanksgiving. If you end up taking us up on our ideas to give back in your community, be sure to sign in and tell the world about it . Let's #StartSomethingGood together.

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