For some, Thanksgiving is made up of eating food, relaxing at home, and spending time with loved ones. But unfortunately, that isn't the reality for many across the country—an important reminder to give back in any way we can during the holiday season.
For me, that has become apparent as a resident of New York City, where SNAP—the city's food stamp program—has undergone a major budget cut. It's safe to say that this has directly affected the city's food pantries and soup kitchens, 80 percent of which are seeing an increase in foot traffic, as reported by the Food Bank of New York City.
And that's just one issue among many that needs our attention. The Weather Channel states that an arctic air blast is expected to hit the Northeast on Thanksgiving, making conditions dangerous for homeless people in need of heavy clothing. On the other side of the country in California, people's homes have been destroyed by wildfires.
To put it simply, there is no shortage of those who need additional kindness this holiday, and it's definitely not too late to give back for Thanksgiving. Here are a few ways you can do your part:
Donate to a Local Food Pantry
Check your local news stations to see if your area needs help at nearby food pantries. They will most likely provide resources where you can donate or volunteer your time to help. Like mentioned above, New York City is one among many places where food shortages are occurring. If you're an NYC resident, look to donate here.
Donate to a Shelter
Since this Thanksgiving will be abnormally brisk in some parts of the country, there is concern for the homeless population who might not have the proper attire to brave the cold. To drop off donations immediately, check Charity Navigator to find the closest homeless shelters near you. If you want to help those who have been left without a home due to this year's natural disasters, you can donate to The Red Cross. Additionally, you can also go to your local Goodwill or Salvation Army for easy drop-offs.
Donate to Support Immigrant and Refugee Communities
If you are looking to help those seeking citizenship in America, there are plenty of organizations to do just that during the season of giving. See below for a range to choose from:
- International Rescue Committee
- Doctors Without Borders
- Save The Children
- UNICEF USA
- Refugee Council USA
Donate to Your Favorite Charity
Whether it's a nationwide charity or a hyperlocal organization, giving back to a cause with any donation, small or large, can make a difference. (And there's no better day than Thanksgiving—research shows a link between gratitude and giving.) If you need some help picking one, check out our recent list of 11 home-centric charities to donate to here. You can also ask your Thanksgiving table for nominations, or just choose a favorite that speaks to your heart.
We would like to say thanks to you, the Apartment Therapy community, for always being ready to jump in with your support. Please add any additional organizations or information in the comments below!