Five Thanksgiving Volunteer Opportunities

November means Thanksgiving meals, holiday season preparations, gift guides, and shopping lists. In addition, November is the perfect time to scope out some local Thanksgiving volunteer opportunities. You can participate in charitable efforts within the surrounding community. This is a great way to pair action with your gratitude this season. Accordingly, below, I will share 5 ideas for Thanksgiving Volunteer Opportunities.

Food Distribution

Thanksgiving Meal

The Greater Lansing area ensures no one in our community goes without a meal. The organizations which serve free meals can always use a helping hand. Cristo Rey Community Center in Lansing hosts an annual Thanksgiving feast. Traditionally, an electronic sign-up for food donations and volunteers for the event will be made available.

Food Service

The Advent House and the Lansing City Rescue Mission provide many ways to get involved for Thanksgiving Volunteer Opportunities. The Lansing City Rescue Mission requests volunteer assistance with food service, chores, and other miscellaneous tasks. Volunteers can help at their Men’s Shelter or their Women’s and Children’s Shelter.

Food Assistance

Additionally, we at Lansing Moms are always happy to assist the members of our Lansing Moms community. Are you or someone you know in need of food assistance? If so, please feel encouraged to reach out, so that we can support you. The City of Lansing is providing a monthly mobile food pantry for Lansing residents. Lastly, more information on food assistance in the surrounding Greater Lansing cities and counties can be found here.

Senior Care

Resident Visits

The holiday season is often a lonely time for local elderly community members. Provide the gift of your time. This is one of the easiest Thanksgiving Volunteer Opportunities available to you. The residents at any of our local senior housing facilities love to have company. Burcham Hills in East Lansing is actively seeking out friendly visitors. Volunteer visitors spend one-on-one time with residents. More information on this opportunity can be found here. Is there a senior facility closer to you? Call to find out about their volunteer opportunities. No matter where you go, the staff always appreciates offers to help.

Kid-Friendly Community Service

There are plenty of ways for the entire family to get involved. Your children can make festive cards, draw pictures, or create a painting. Take their artwork or cards and hand them out to the residents. These simple gestures will bring lots of smiles for everyone involved!

Wish List Fulfillment

Local community organizations rely largely on donations. One of our favorite Thanksgiving Volunteer Opportunities is fulfilling a wish list for a local business or organization. The Sparrow Hospital Child Life team welcomes donations from their Child Life Wishlist. You have the option to purchase the item(s) on your own. Afterwards, contact the Sparrow Child Life office by phone to arrange a drop-off time. Purchases can also be made directly from their Amazon Wish list.

Similarly, Child and Family Charities is an organization in Lansing, committed to serving the community. CFC provides human services and advocacy to children and families. Their Child and Family Charities Wish List contains priority needs and wants. Items desired range from clothing and household items to hygiene products and gift certificates.


Make a difference for a local family this holiday season. Participate in an Adopt-a-Family program. Adopt-a-Family programs allow community members to fulfill a wish list for local families in need. The lists typically include food, clothing, household necessities, toys, and other items. The Haven House in East Lansing provides emergency shelter to homeless families. Staff also assists families with securing stable housing. Additionally, Haven House stays connected during their first year of stable housing. Families provide a list of wants and needs. Wish list requests are fulfilled with the support of the community, through their annual Adopt-a-Family program.

Random Acts of Kindness

Pay it Forward

We wrap up our list of Thanksgiving Volunteer Opportunities with this simple gesture. Extending random acts of kindness is a great way to positively serve your community. Perhaps you pay for the coffee order of the person behind you in line. Call your child’s school. Ask if there are any unpaid lunch balances. For students with debt, offer to pay off a few. As the weather gets colder, the snow will arrive soon. Help your neighbor by snow blowing or shoveling their walkway.


Service and hospitality staff work hard to provide great service during the holiday rush season. Do you plan on going out to a restaurant for a meal sometime soon? Consider providing your wait staff with double, or more, what you normally tip. The mail personnel have busy days, delivering your packages between now and January. Have pre-packaged treats for them to take from your doorstep. This is a nice way to say thank you. Small, thoughtful gifts are also great as a token of appreciation.

Finally, in all that you do this holiday season, the most fulfilling thing you can do is something for someone else. Whether it’s offering your time, a smile, a donation, or a meal, do so in the spirit of joy and giving. Are you inspired to make time for one of these Thanksgiving Volunteer Opportunities this season? Be sure to share this article with a friend!

You’ve got your Thanksgiving Volunteer Opportunities set and if you’re looking for more Thanksgiving related material, head here


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