It’s Not Too Late To Give Back This Thanksgiving—Here’s What You Can Do

updated Nov 27, 2019
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

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—underwent a major budget cut last year that eliminated eligibility for 200,000 New Yorkers, as reported by the Food Bank of New York City. There’s also a record low number of soup kitchens operating this holiday season, which has caused concern among charity leaders as many seniors, immigrants, and families with young children turn to emergency food networks.

And that’s just one issue among many that needs our attention. A frigid winter is ahead of us this year, according to the Farmers’ Almanac, and a dangerous snow storm is expected to affect states from California to Michigan this Thanksgiving. This means conditions will be dangerous for homeless people in need of heavy clothing now and for the upcoming winter season. Also, specifically honing in on California, people homes continue to be destroyed by wildfires and need help recovering.

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 at nonprofits like NY Common Pantry or the Food Bank for New York City.

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:

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!