Volunteering Around Thanksgiving: Where To Go
Help is needed, but call ahead to register first
It’s that time of the year again. People are thinking about their Thanksgiving menus, making their grocery shopping lists and, perhaps, deciding how early they’ll hit the malls for deals on holiday gifts.
The holiday season also comes with frequent reminders to think about the less fortunate -- while you’re committing acts of gluttony and pepper spraying the lady who tried to cart the last $25 flat screen TV.
In all seriousness, however, on a holiday that is so closely associated with food, it’s noteworthy that hunger has a stranglehold in many communities around the country. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, 17.2 million households were considered food insecure in 2010, the largest number ever recorded.
[ALSO READ: 17 Million Short on Food in U.S.]
So, what are you to do about it? Spending a few painless hours at a local food bank is one way. Community food banks can always use an extra hand and the Thanksgiving holiday is when they need volunteers to kick operations into high gear.
But don’t just show up to one and expect a red carpet and an acknowledgement of how kind you are. It’s important to first register with a volunteer organization or with the food bank itself, says Denise Richardson, a spokeswoman for the Greater New York Division of The Salvation Army.
[ALSO READ: More Loop 21 Thanksgiving Stories]
To get you on your way, below find a list of food banks around the country with links to each of their volunteer processes. Don’t have time to volunteer during Thanksgiving weekend? You can always give back the weekend after.
FOOD BANK SUGGESTIONS:
Atlanta Community Food Bank
732 Joseph E. Lowery Blvd., NW, Atlanta
Volunteer Instructions: http://www.acfb.org/volunteer
Food Bank for New York City
252 W. 116th St., New York
Volunteer Instructions: http://www.foodbanknyc.org/how-you-can-help/volunteer
Los Angeles Regional Food Bank
1734 E. 41st St., Los Angeles
Volunteer Instructions: http://www.lafoodbank.org/get-involved/donate-funds/volunteer/information.aspx
Alameda County Community Food Bank (Oakland, Calif.)
7900 Edgewater Drive, Oakland, Calif.
Volunteer Instructions: http://www.accfb.org/volunteer.html
Gleaners Community Food Bank (Detroit)
2131 Beaufait St., Detroit
Volunteer Instructions: http://www.gcfb.org/site/PageServer?pagename=pg_volunteer
Capital Area Food Bank (Washington, D.C.)
4900 Puerto Rico Ave, NE, Washington, D.C.
Volunteer Instructions: http://www.capitalareafoodbank.org/volunteer/
Feeding South Florida (Miami Area)
2501 SW 32 Terrace, Pembroke Park, Fla.
Volunteer Instructions: http://www.feedingsouthflorida.org/volunteer-time.htm
Cleveland Food Bank
15500 S. Waterloo Rd., Cleveland
Volunteer Instructions: http://www.clevelandfoodbank.org/site/PageServer?pagename=vol_default
Mississippi Food Network
440 W. Beatty St., Jackson, Miss.
Volunteer Instructions: http://www.msfoodnet.org/donate_time.htm
St. Louis Area Foodbank
70 Corporate Woods Dr., Bridgeton, Mo.
Volunteer Instructions: http://www.stlfoodbank.org/HowToHelp/Volunteer.aspx
For more food banks, click here.