Thanksgiving: Ways to give back and make a difference
Gratitude is the reason we celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s the time of the year we show our appreciation to our family and friends. While some share satisfying warm plates of roast turkey with loved ones, more and more people have incorporated giving back into the season of giving thanks.
And who better to give back to than our beloved LGBT family? From volunteering to donating, we hope you make an impact on your LGBT community this Thanksgiving.
Ways you can give back this Thanksgiving
There are many ways you can contribute to your LGBT community, but the common ones are opportunities to volunteer and donate. You can get in touch with your local LGBT centers to either find out what volunteering activities they have scheduled for Thanksgiving or get a list of causes you can donate to.
1. Volunteer at an LGBT center
The easiest way to give back this Thanksgiving is to sign up for ongoing events and volunteer work that your local LGBT center has set up. Some centers even post their activities online. You may visit websites like Volunteer Match and see if there are any volunteer opportunities near you.
Most of the volunteer opportunities you’ll find for Thanksgiving are for the hungry and homeless. Others are focused on helping the youth, elders, and those with disabilities.
The common activities are:
- Food drive to stockpile food (usually canned goods and instant food) and distribute them to people in the community who can’t afford food.
- Meal delivery to members of the community who are elderly, sick, or in need.
- Serving dinner at a local soup kitchen or homeless shelter.
- Fundraising events like Thanksgiving dinner for an LGBT cause.
- Support programs for the youth, elderly, and sick or disabled.
2. Organize your own volunteer work
In case you have a full schedule and you’re unable to find a volunteer work at your LGBT center that matches your free time, you may organize your own events and activities. This is a great way to get your family and friends involved and make the most of your holiday time together.
What you and your family and friends can do:
- Host your own food drive and donate what you’ve collected to your LGBT center.
- Host a Thanksgiving lunch or dinner and invite members of your LGBT community.
- Do your own fundraising activities like a garage sale, bingo, bazaar, etc., and donate the proceeds to an LGBT cause.
- Collect donations, monetary or in kind, including old clothes, toys, books, etc., from your family, friends, neighbors, and office mates and donate what you’ve collected to your LGBT center.
3. Make a donation
Aside from volunteering your services, you can also donate items and money. A lot of LGBT centers prefer donations, especially during the holidays. This is because a lot volunteer only on Thanksgiving or the day after and that’s it. LGBT centers will be able to use monetary donations for various causes and activities for a period of time or store goods and food products and distribute them when needed.
Tips on making donations:
- Choose a cause that’s meaningful to you. Think about your priorities and what you’re passionate and thankful about.
- Make sure that your donating items that the receiving charity or organization really needs.
- Find out beforehand if the charity or organization you plan to give to accept the type of items you’re planning to donate.
- Avoid donation bins, especially if you’re not sure if they really go to charity.
- Consider selling your items for donation and then donate the proceeds instead.
- Organize similar items together.
- Wrap fragile items and throw away worn and broken items.
- Wash old clothes and cloth items before packing them.
- Organize similar clothes and cloth items together.
- Itemize and estimate how much each item costs.
- Get a receipt for your donation for documentation.
- Do your homework. Research about the charity or organization you’re donating to. Check their validity and legitimacy.
- Find out how they plan to use your donation and how much of it will go to help those in your community.
- Donate directly. Don’t donate via a solicitor or over the phone.
- Don’t donate cash. Make contributions by check payable to the organization, not the individual collecting the donations.
- Keep records of your donations. You’ll need the documents come tax time.
Whichever way you decide to give back to our community, we hope that your hearts will be filled with joy and a new sense of gratefulness. Happy Thanksgiving to you all! We are so thankful for each and every one of your love and support.
- Image credit: tripsavvy