'Tis the season to give thanks — and give back. Whether picking up a few shifts at a food bank or donating nutritious food items to a local church, there are a variety of ways to get in on this year’s Thanksgiving volunteer action.
From turkey trots to meal delivery, these 10 charitable organizations would be happy to welcome some friendly faces, helping hands, and giving hearts this holiday season.
San Antonio Food Bank Super Saturday Turkey Round Up — November 23
For a quick and easy way to give back to your community, look no further than the Super Saturday Turkey Round Up. As part of their seasonal Food4SA Campaign, the San Antonio Food Bank will be facilitating a food donation drop-off at eight H-E-B locations from 10 am to 2:30 pm. Check the map for a nearby location.
Thanksgiving Block Party — November 23
Volunteers are needed to help pack and distribute Thanksgiving dinner boxes to the families of East Meadows SAHA Eastside neighborhood through HIS Bridge Builders SA ministry. There will be live music, food, children’s activities, and a gospel presentation. To volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org. To donate towards the Thanksgiving dinner boxes and coat collection go here.
King’s Compassion Turkey Giveaway — November 27-28
King’s Compassion offers a convenient day-before-Thanksgiving volunteer opportunity. On Wednesday, November 27, take part in Thanksgiving meal preparation from 8:30 am to 8:30 pm. On Thanksgiving Day, the turkey dinners will be delivered to the elderly on the east, south, and west sides of San Antonio from 9 am to 1:30 pm. This faith-based organization aims to restore dignity and respect to the elderly, poor, and homeless and also provides free services that range from minor home repairs to nursing home visits all year round. To volunteer, call 210-325-3183 or register here.
Operation Turkey — November 27-28
Last year, Operation Turkey gave over 60,000 meals to the homeless and less fortunate across 22 cities. Local volunteers work throughout the year to ensure that everything is in place to prepare, package, and deliver warm meals, care packages, and clothing donations to those in need from 8 am to noon on Thanksgiving Day. Helpful hands are sought to cook, clean, deliver, package, or plate. Kids are welcome to join in the fun if accompanied by a guardian. Their Turkey Tailgate (food prep day) and Volunteer Orientation events will take place on Thanksgiving Eve. To volunteer, email email@example.com.
40th Annual Raul Jimenez Thanksgiving Dinner — November 28
When one thinks of volunteering on El día de Acción de Gracias, San Antonio’s largest community Thanksgiving dinner may come to mind. This charity, which takes place every year at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, provides a celebratory meal to 25,000 seniors and community members in need. Every spot in this year’s army of 4,000 volunteers was taken within 48 hours of the registration form going online, according to event organizer Patricia Jimenez, daughter of the event’s founder. At present, there is a waiting list of 600 people who are ready to cook, serve, and clean if pinged. Although volunteer registration is closed, donations are still needed and can be made here.
Jaime P. Martinez Annual Thanksgiving in the Barrio — November 28
Headed up by the Cesar E. Chavez Legacy and Educational Foundation, this event provides families with food items to take home so that they can prepare a traditional Thanksgiving Day meal. In 2018, the event experienced its largest turnout of volunteers and served a record number 325 families, according to their website. To volunteer, go here.
Meals on Wheels San Antonio — November 28 and year-round
Meals on Wheels will get an early start this Thanksgiving morning when they begin prepping the 2,000 Thanksgiving meals to be distributed throughout the city. Volunteer positions for Thanksgiving Day are already filled, however, the organization is seeking donors who can sponsor a route to ensure clients receive the meals that have been sponsored by H-E-B. If your calendar is full on Turkey Day, keep in mind that the organization is always looking for volunteers to help deliver meals the other 364 days of the year. Also, their Friendly Visitor Program is yet another way to care for a homebound elderly person who might be very happy to meet a new friend.
Operation Home Cooking 2019 — November 28
For the past 44 years, Operation Home Cooking has given local families an opportunity to thank military personnel for their service. This program makes it possible for you and your loved ones to share your Thanksgiving meal with the brave men and women who are unable to be with their own families this holiday season. Open your door to one or two Air Force members or basic trainees at Lackland Air Force Base. Last year, local residents hosted 4,498 Air Force members for Thanksgiving dinner. Requests can be made up until November 27. To learn more or volunteer call 210-671-5453 or check out the link here.
San Antonio Food Bank Turkey Trot 5K — November 28
While many Americans typically indulge themselves with turkey and stuffing on Thanksgiving, others find themselves running — literally — in the opposite direction. On Thanksgiving morning, Turkey Trot 5K Run/Walk will briefly take over the King William Historic District for the running community’s official holiday kickoff. A portion of the registration fees will help the San Antonio Food Bank provide turkey dinners to families in need. Registration starts at 6:30 am and the time-chipped runners will take their mark at 8:30 am. There is a waiting list to volunteer, however cheering for the runners is absolutely encouraged. Registration fee is $35 online until November 26. $40 on the day of the event. Kids 11 years old and younger run for free. Turkeys can run as fast as 25 miles per hour on the ground. Don’t let a turkey show you up, man.
St. Vinny’s Bistro — all year
Like many of the aforementioned charities, St. Vincent de Paul San Antonio also does a number of things for the less fortunate in our community. At St. Vinny’s Bistro, volunteers serve three meals per day, year-round. Guests are served in the courtyard, located at Haven for Hope homeless campus west of downtown San Antonio. Organizers welcome any amount of time volunteers have to offer. Check out the link here.