For those looking for ways to give back this fall, here are some ideas to help your local community in celebration of the original Thanksgiving:

OPEN YOUR WALLET

Giving back can be as simple as making a monetary donation to an organization that’s working to make a difference. And it’s a way to do good while socially distancing from others. If you’re in a position to do so, give some funds to an non-profit organization or other agency that’s doing work on an issue you care about near you.

TURN YOUR THANKSGIVING INTO A FOOD & CLOTHING DRIVE

Instead of having an in-person Thanksgiving this year, ask any would-be guests to gather a non-perishable food item, lightly used clothes, shoes or blankets that they no longer need, unopened personal hygiene products, sealed face masks, or other useful items, then drop them off at a local shelter or homeless organization. It’s a super simple way for people to de-clutter their closets and cabinets while also helping others. Make sure to do your research on the best procedures to give to shelters near you (due to COVID, some may prefer monetary donations).

SUPPORT THE HOMELESS POPULATION

The homeless community has grown due to the economic crisis and is particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. And with the weather getting colder by the day, this issue becomes even more pressing than it already is. Consider donating to a local organization that helps to prevent homelessness. You can also connect with local organizations helping unhoused people in your town or city.

HELP FEED THE HUNGRY

Food insecurity affects 1.15 million — or one in six — Canadian children under age 18. It’s not exactly an uplifting fact to think about when you’re about to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast, you can help by donating to a local food back to help ensure everyone has food on their plate this holiday.

VOLUNTEER ON THANKSGIVING DAY

If you want to forego some of the typical indulgences of Thanksgiving in favor of doing some volunteer work, there are plenty of great ways to get involved. Reach out to a local organization to inquire about volunteer opportunities in your area. Whether you’re volunteering in person or online, it’s a great use of your time.

DO GROCERY SHOPPING FOR A VULNERABLE PERSON

People who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 may be pretty isolated during the holiday season, both emotionally and logistically. Offer to shop for an at-risk neighbour or investigate organization that offer a similar service and volunteer your time or donate financially.

FUND A TURKEY DRIVE

Everybody deserves a delicious meal on Thanksgiving — but not everybody gets one. Sponsor a holiday meal or volunteer in person to pack and distribute food.

SUPPORT MEDICS FIGHTING COVID-19

Once again this Thanksgiving, people will be in hospital battling COVID-19 rather than feasting with their families — and medical staff will be on the front lines. Check out your local hospital or medical center to see how you can help support their working staff this holiday. You may also choose to support other non-medical front line workers in your area.

GIVE BLOOD

This doesn’t sound very holiday-like, but it’s badly needed right now. During the pandemic, hospitals have been putting out the call for blood and plasma donations. Whether you’re already registered as a blood donor or it’s your first time, this could be a life-saving gift to other people this Thanksgiving. Check out the Red Cross to find local blood drives.

We hope all of you enjoy a lovely (and safe) Thanksgiving!

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