Thanksgiving is upon us, which for most means turkey, all the fixings, and pumpkin pie. While the meal with your family is festive and fun, the true meaning of the holiday is expressing gratitude and giving back. If you’re looking to create a new Thanksgiving tradition and want to forgo a food coma, we’ve rounded up a list of ways to celebrate and give back to the community while bonding with your whole family.
Host a canned goods drive or donate to a local food bank
Thanksgiving is one of the busiest times of the year for food banks, gearing up to feed thousands of hungry people. If you want to get into the spirit of service, donating food to your local food bank can provide the many people facing hunger with food on the table and a meaningful holiday memory. Simply going to the grocery store and stocking up on non-perishable items along with all the traditional Thanksgiving eats are typically accepted by regional food banks and are delivered or picked up by families in need. Get your neighborhood and community involved, and have the kids help pick items from the grocery store and pack up bags or boxes. To find your local food bank, click here.
Help out at a local soup kitchen
Make Thanksgiving special for those in need, and donate your time at a local soup kitchen. Gather with your family, meal prep, serve meals, and clean up. Many soup kitchens operate by a number of different organizations, including charitable or religious organizations; to find the nearest one, click here. With the holiday being one of the busiest times of the year, make sure to call and check volunteer availability. If the soup kitchen doesn’t need volunteers on Thanksgiving Day, ask about opportunities throughout the rest of the year.
Instead of tossing away old toys in the trash, donate toys and make a child’s holiday season brighter. Donating toys is an easy way to get involved and a great way to help your kids understand the meaning of giving back. Work with them to decide which toys you’ll give away and box them together. Before packing up the car with bags, call each organization to learn their donation requirements. From Goodwill, The Salvation Army, Toys for Tots, and more, many will host drives or accept gently used toys and donate to underprivileged kids. You can also find a local children’s home and shelter, but it’s recommended to get in touch with their director to see where and how your donations can be beneficial.
Visit an animal shelter
There’s always an increase in stray pets around the holidays. Whether you visit an animal shelter to volunteer or open your home to a furry friend for Thanksgiving, this is a rewarding and unique way to create memories with your family. Volunteering at an animal shelter is a positive and valuable experience for you and your kids. From feeding, walking and socializing with the animals, you can make a difference while having fun. You may even fall in love with a particular cat or dog and adopt a new best friend.
Neighborhood clean up
A great way to bring neighbors and families together during the holiday is to organize a community cleanup. Choose the area of focus in your neighborhood, gather trash bags, gloves, rakes, and all the essentials, and divide and conquer throughout the chosen location. Picking up trash, repainting, and gardening are all great projects. Not only is it the perfect opportunity to spend time outdoors, but you can also encourage your kids to take initiative, teach them about recycling, or even introduce them to basic gardening. Once the cleanup is complete, reward all the volunteers with a post-Thanksgiving gathering.
Run for a good cause in a turkey trot
A longstanding tradition for many families and friends is to burn off those extra holiday calories and participate in a Turkey Trot. Runners of all ages and experience levels are welcome to run or walk distances from a 5k to a full marathon before feasting on the big meal. Grab your Doona Car Seat & Stroller and work up a sweat with your whole family while raising funds for a good cause. To find a Turkey Trot race near you, click here.
While giving back during the holidays is significant and a nice way to spend quality time with the family, it shouldn’t end on Thanksgiving. Volunteers are needed year-round. At Doona, we are dedicated to supporting families. Our vision is to share our passion with families globally and make every parenting journey simple. We are always here to support and help navigate our Doona parents during their parenting journey. We encourage you to explore our guides and recommendations from industry experts, tips, and more. Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving!