For many, Thanksgiving evokes images of giant turkeys, dining tables overflowing with food, and family gathered around the kitchen to say grace. You laugh. You cry. You catch up with long-distance cousins. You hug Aunt Deb a thousand times because she can’t believe how big you’ve grown. You don’t think much about how special it is because you know you’ll be back here in a month to do this all over again at Christmas.

If that was you, do you know how fortunate you are? For many families, the thought of Thanksgiving paints a very different picture. Maybe they don’t have family to celebrate with or perhaps they can’t afford the luxury of a holiday feast. Either way, this is the year to remember what Thanksgiving is all about: being grateful and thankful for what we have and spreading that joy to our friends and neighbors.

Take this holiday as an excuse to do something kind for another. From feeding the homeless to trotting along on a 5K, there are plenty of opportunities to serve your community on Thanksgiving (and year-round!)—here are 5 ways to give back this holiday season.

1. Run a 5K for a Cause

Have an athletic family? Forgo the turkey this year, lace up your running shoes, and hit the trail. Most major cities, and even some small towns, hold 5K races on Thanksgiving to raise money for local charities or nonprofits. Even if you don’t like to run, you can always help by volunteering with packet pick-up before events or set up before the big day.

2. Donate to a Local Food Bank

Did you overestimate how many cans of cranberry sauce you’d need? Want to pick up a few extra cans of soup and veggies on your grocery run? Donate them to a local food bank and help families in need have a Thanksgiving meal, too. Don’t know where to donate? You can look up the location of a nearby food bank and learn how to donate here.

3. Visit a Nursing Home

Older folks in a nursing home may not be in good enough health to visit long-distance family this holiday season. Brighten their day by offering even just a few minutes of company. Want to make a bigger impact? Organize a volunteer event for your church group or community organization—the more smiling faces the merrier!

4. Clean Out Your Closet

Since the holidays are all about giving (not receiving!), what better way to show support and love to your community than to help keep them warm. You just bought a new jacket for yourself and your kids, but what about those who can’t afford winter clothing? Take this time to empty out your closet and get rid of old hats, sweatshirts, coats, mittens, and boots. Don’t have anything to give away? Go out and buy some affordable clothing—from a place like Target—and donate it to a local charity.

5. Help Your Neighbor

Giving back on Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be a grand gesture of generosity. A simple act of kindness can go a long way. Help out your neighbor by mowing their lawn when you mow yours. Offer to babysit for the single mother down the street. Giving back to people you know is just as rewarding and thoughtful as helping your greater community.


Thanksgiving is a time to remember who matters the most: the people around us. Whether it’s family, friends, co-workers or community members with whom you spend most of your time, do something kind for them this holiday season. You’ll see how special a simple act of giving can be.

From all of us at Purcado, we wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by:Katie Cauthen