Giving Back This Thanksgiving

Photo courtesy of Phoenix Rescue Mission

Throughout the year on State Dinner I celebrate food in abundance. I am blessed to be able to have a well-stocked kitchen to cook in every night and the ability to dine out at the area’s newest restaurants whenever I please. I try to count my blessings often. As we approach the season of Thanksgiving, we collectively take stock of all the things we’ve been provided with throughout the year. Which quickly leads one to think about those who are doing without (and with the current economic situation, there are more families than ever that are struggling to make ends meet).

It has always been a tradition in my family to volunteer year round, but most importantly during the holiday season. My Mom donates a turkey every year to a local area food bank. And for the past few years I have either donated money or volunteered my time at DC-area charities. Below you will find a couple of  food-related ways you and your loved ones can volunteer your time this holiday season. Please remember that these organizations need your help year-round, so while it is important to help out needy families during the holiday season, please consider also stopping by in June as well.

Photo courtesy of the DCJCC


Everything But the Turkey November 22nd and 24th 6:30pm-8:30pm. 500 volunteers meet at the DCJCC (1529 16th Street, NW at the corner of 16th and Q Streets) to prepare 10,000 servings of food for people in need in the Metropolitan area. Over 100 social service agencies (part of DC Central Kitchen) benefit from the side dishes prepared during Everything But the Turkey. I volunteered here last year and had a great time preparing lots and lots of bread stuffing. EBTT is appropriate for all age groups as well, so feel free to bring the entire family!

Note: There is a requested $13 donation to cover some of the supplies used during the volunteer days.

Food and Friends

Food and Friends provides nutritious meals to people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other life-challenging illnesses. I have been donating to Food and Friends for years because I find their mission particularly compelling. They don’t just provide food for those in ill-health but also provide companionship and company. There are a number of opportunities to assist Food and Friends during the holiday season:

  • Slice of Life is a holiday fundraising event where people in the DC area can buy pies and the money will be donated to Food and Friends. Fellow food blogger Dining in DC is selling pies in various flavors like sweet potato, pumpkin, and chocolate cheesecake. Consider helping out her efforts. In addition to buying a pie you can volunteer on November 23rd from 10:30am-8:30pm (various shifts are available) at one of the 22 pie pick-up locations through out the DC/MD/VA area.
  • Turkey Box delivery will take place November 22nd-24th. The Turkey Boxes include everything a family will need for a delicious Thanksgiving dinner (turkey, side dishes, dessert). Flexible schedules are available and you will be given a couple of different addresses to deliver to.
  • On November 22nd-24 at 8am, 10am, 1pm, and 5pm, groups will be gathering to prepare food for Thanksgiving meals. Also on Thanksgiving Day you can volunteer to prepare and deliver meals.

Photo courtesy of creativeloafingdotcom

Bread for the City

Starting now through December 24th Bread for the City is welcoming volunteers in to their Northwest Center (1525 7th Street, NW) and Southeast Center (1640 Good Hope Road, SE) from 1-3pm, Monday-Thursday to help pack up turkey dinners (fully equipped with all the classic fixings). Bread for the City plans to distribute these meals to over 8,000 families in need.

There are also options for larger, corporate volunteer days, so consider gathering taking a half-day at the office and give back to your community.

If you know of more Thanksgiving volunteer opportunities in the DC area please feel free to list them below in the comments area.

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