Oh, Thanksgiving. A day in which we should be thankful for all of the things we have and people around us. Yet oftentimes people struggle to provide a meal for themselves or their families. While I’m not involved in holidays from a religious standpoint, I am one for tradition and culture, things that should bring communities together. Side note, I’d love to grow up to be a philanthropist someday. I probably shouldn’t have gone with an art history degree if I wanted that to happen. Even though I work in human services with a great nonprofit, I still have a desire to give more, either financially or with my time.
Indianapolis has several Thanksgiving assistance programs with charities, churches, independent organizations and just all around good people who want to help. I know there are people out there like me who want to volunteer, donate or get creative but they need to find what opportunities are out there. A few Google and community calendar searches later and here’s what I found for volunteer, food drive and donation events are out there for Thanksgiving:
Donating Time, Money or Food
1. Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana – Gleaners’ recent awareness campaign says 1 in 6 Hoosiers struggles with hunger. Hosting a canned food drive is a great way to crowdsource and get people involved and help those 1 in 6 who depend on food banks. Volunteers are needed for the Gleaners Community Food Pantry on Wednesday, November 27 from 10:30 AM – 4:30 PM – contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
2. Mozel Sanders – Possibly the most widely known Thanksgiving assistance program, the Mozel Sanders Foundation is responsible for providing thousands of hot meals to people in central Indiana. While I’ve always wanted to volunteer with putting the meals together, Mozel Sanders has the volunteers they need as or right now. Your monetary donation at http://mozelsanders.org/ can make a difference for this year and other assistance programs offered by the Mozel Sanders Foundation.
3. Wheeler Mission – Did you know you can provide a complete Thanksgiving meal for only $2.25? Over 71,000 will receive assistance from Wheeler Mission this Thanksgiving season. I donated through my friend Suzanne’s online giving page. She’s running the Drumstick Dash, a 4.6 mile and 2.5 mile run on Thanksgiving day that benefits Wheeler Mission. Visit Indy has a list of other Thanksgiving-related runs in Indianapolis that support various organization.
4. Church of the Holy Cross (Eastside) – Volunteers are needed to sort and bag the food donations so they can give them out to people on Monday, November 25 during their food distribution drive.
5. St. Mark Catholic School (Southside) – Food donations collected at St. Mark’s go towards Hunger Inc., Community Court and Little Sisters of the Poor. Their goal is to collect 16,000 items and they are just under halfway there.
6. St. Luke’s Thanksgiving Sharing (Northside) – Preparing and delivering over 130 baskets of food on Thanksgiving (includes a turkey with all the fixings) takes volunteers and donations. Purchase a basket online or contact St. Luke’s for more ways to get involved.
7. Kroger’s Share Your Feast campaign – Kroger offer three ways to give back this Thanksgiving season. Purchase a prepared bag of food as a donation, add $1, $3 or $5 “coupons” to your grocery purchase as a donation, or bring in your own food and drop it off at Kroger. I purchased one of these bags today and plan on buying one the next time I visit to get my Thanksgiving ingredients.
Donating your creativity and talent
8. Set up your own fundraising page through FirstGiving.org – Pick a cause or charity that you like and create an online fundraising page to ask for donations from friends and family members. FirstGiving processes credit card payments and will send all donations directly to the charity of your choice. Write a compelling story as to why you’re fundraising, along with photos, videos, statistics or whatever means most to you that you want to share. Set a goal, share the link to the page, and start fundraising!
9. Purchase a meal as a gift to family and friends, offer child care – Several upscale and family restaurants are open in Indianapolis. Call the restaurant to see if you can purchase a family’s meal in advance or through a gift certificate. Offer to provide childcare if necessary.
10. Host a meal in your own home – Rahul and I aren’t going to eat an entire turkey, so if we were having Thanksgiving at our house, I’d invite people over who may be alone for the holiday or don’t have the means, desire or skills to cook a meal. Know a family that could use some assistance? Offer to cook the meal and bring it over to their home.
11. Spread the word about assistance – Being knowledgeable about what Thanksgiving assistance is available allows you to help others get connected to the resources they need. This website shares names, addresses and contact info for various food banks throughout Indianapolis. Calling 211 can also help connect people to resources. I also found a post on Give A Care Indy about a free Thanksgiving dinner for those who are homeless at Hard Rock Cafe.