You know what we love? The fact that Thanksgiving is a holiday that hasn't gone completely commercial. Sure, Thanksgiving STUFF (re: pie) is amazing but that's not actually what matters most about the day. What really matters are the special moments that take place while friends and family cook together, eat together, and share laughter and love. This Thanksgiving, why not take things a step further and offer your guests a chance to spread the love beyond the walls of your home? Here our favorite ways to put a charitable twist on your Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving gathering.
If you're in SF, the Thanksgiving Day Block Party is an event you and your guests could attend and volunteer at before you dig into your own dinner. Hosted in The Tenderloin on Thanksgiving Day from 9AM-2PM, this incredible event aims to deliver 7,000 hot meals and 50 grocery bags to homes and serve a sit-down meal to 300 residents in need. Register now and bring your printed ticket to the event. We suggest having guests meet you at your home so they can leave a change of clothes if they wish. Then travel to and from the event together. Be sure to have some cheese, crackers, and other quick hors d'oeuvres on-hand for hungry guests to munch when you get back.
Also in SF, you may consider pairing with Little Brothers-Friends of the Elderly SanFrancisco. This volunteer opportunity is just as rewarding but with a smaller time commitment. Pairing you with lonely elders in need, this organization sets up visits that greatly benefit otherwise isolated elders. We are all about the heart behind this initiative on a day that's all about family and friends. Why not team up in groups of three and visit as many isolated elders as you can? We guarantee it'll make their day.
If you're in NY, check out The Bowery Mission for life-changing volunteer opportunities on Thanksgiving Day. With opportunities from 8AM-7PM, there's a good chance a perfect slot will be be available for you and your crew. Head down to 227 Bowery and prep food, serve meals, or provide a little clean up. Travel to and from Bowery with friends or family and consider packing hand-pies for the trip home!
If events aren't your thing, consider instead asking guests to bring items for charity. Toys for Tots is a national organization that distributes toys to less fortunate children on Christmas. Guests can bring toys and pop them into a big donation box that you'll bring or send to a donation center the next day.
Looking for something a little more personal? Be An Elf is a national program allowing people to respond to letters written to Santa by children who need a little lift. Run by your local post office and scoop up one letter per guest. Provide paper, envelopes, nice inky pens and stamps. Guests can take them home or write them out right then and there. Just don't forget to mail them out! Check out the website for a list of participating post offices.
Project Angel is another excellent national charity that allows you to set up an angel tree right in your home. Guests can choose an angel and opt to complete the angel's Christmas list, bringing unwrapped gifts back to you that you'll then shuttle to the Salvation Army donation center. Because this requires more of a time and money commitment than other charities, we suggest asking guests to speak into this before you go to all the effort.
Regardless of how big or small you go, adding a charitable element to your Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving dinner is an excellent way to keep the spirit behind the holiday alive. We can't wait to hear what you come up with! So snap a pic and be sure to tag us at @OTREvents on Instagram!
Happy Turkey Day!
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