Thanksgiving is not about pumpkin pie and cornbread stuffing (although they are delicious foods worthy of a holiday). The true point of the holiday is to express gratitude for our abundance of blessings. Many of us consider or plan on giving back around Thanksgiving, but don't know where to begin or how to volunteer. We've made it a bit easier to follow through on your altruistic intentions with these five ideas for volunteering on Thanksgiving:
Glide Memorial Church, 330 Ellis Street
Glide's legendary free meals program is always looking for volunteers to help prepare, serve and clean up during four volunteer shifts a day, 364 days of the year. The entire week leading up to Thanksgiving is a popular time to volunteer to serve to food to the city's homeless, so sign-up early (and often—they need help all year long!).
Little Brothers: Friends of the Elderly, 909 Hyde Street
Many older folks have few family or friends left and no one to spend the holidays with. Brighten someone's Thanksgiving by visiting with a homebound senior through San Francisco's Little Brothers program. Visits last only one to two hours, making this a worthy stop on your way to a Thanksgiving dinner of your own.
Meals on Wheels, 1375 Fairfax Avenue
Meals on Wheels needs your help (and your wheels) to deliver 1,000 Thanksgiving dinners to homebound seniors. Volunteer shifts last two to three hours and begin every 15 minutes from 8am-2pm on Thanksgiving. Kids are welcome to participate in your delivery route, and are probably most welcome visitors to many of the meal recipients.
Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center, 660 Lombard Street
Tel-Hi's Free Neighborhood Thanksgiving Dinner could use your help all day on Thanksgiving. Participate in set-up and help decorate in the morning, or serve dinner in the evening at this beautiful 20-year tradition.
San Francisco Turkey Trot, Polo Fields, Golden Gate Park
The very popular annual San Francisco Turkey Trot still needs volunteers for their annual Thanksgiving 5K. Runners, families and little kid runners will race around Golden Gate Park on Thanksgiving Park to benefit Lowell High School's track and field team. Get some fresh air and exercise before stuffing yourself with stuffing by lending a hand at this adorable annual tradition. (Many Bay Area communities offer a turkey trot, so those of you heading across the Bay for your turkey dinner can probably find a trot in your town.)