Give Thanks This Holiday: 4 Volunteer Ideas for Big Kids

If you're without plans this Thanksgiving, which is, ahem, in two days, never fear! It isn't too late to find places to go. 

For many of us, Thanksgiving is a time to be with family, but for others, it's a great time to spend showing our children the true meaning of "giving thanks" by giving back to the community. Why not try volunteering in some way?

For older children, it's a chance to get perspective, to think about people besides themselves (a crucial lesson in raising good kids), and even, dare I say it, get community service credit.

Whether it's running a race for charity, volunteering the morning in a soup kitchen, or giving money to an organization, here are a few ways both you and your kids can still give back:

  • Donate a meal: This works for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. While you're making your family's meal, why not double the recipe and also prepare one for a family in need? If you're in Massachusetts, organizations like Neighbors in Need are organized to distribute if you call and let them know you want to help. You can also do this yourself by asking around at church and even the grocery store, identifying families who need a little extra help, whether it's the full meal or just the fixings they can prepare themselves.
  • Run for charity: My favorite way to give back every holiday is to run turkey trot 5K (or longer). It's a bit selfish (it justifies a calorie fest later that afternoon), but it's also a great way for charities to raise cash while people are in a giving mood. Older kids will love to get out and run a brisk 5K and donate time and money to people in need. Can't find a turkey trot? Check here for ideas all over the country. Not trained? Volunteer to give water or hand out t-shirts.
  • Deliver meals: Call Meals on Wheels and see if there is still time to volunteer your car for runs to and from elderly and home bound individuals who cannot get to their families to enjoy the feast.
  • Soup kitchen: One of the most popular ways to give back on the holiday is to volunteer in a soup kitchen. You can do a search online or call town offices to find your local food pantry and kitchen and go from there. Older children really benefit from this because they have direct interaction between their actions and the consequences. 

How will you spend your Thanksgiving?


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