Not everyone has the luxury of getting to sit down at a full dinner table on Thanksgiving, so many charitable organizations in the Philadelphia area are looking for extra hands to help out with their holiday events. If you have time, expertise, or money to spare, here's a list of where you can lend a hand.
Make sure to sign up soon, spots tend to go quickly for Thanksgiving. But remember, this isn't the only time you should be looking to volunteer — consider helping out in December or January if you're going to be busy with family.
The Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger connects people with food assistance and nutrition education, and has partnered with churches and emergency food providers this year to serve holiday dinners in December, so this is perfect if you already have plans for Thanksgiving. For many locations, this is the largest meal they will serve all year, which means they need all the help they can get. Two of the sites are already full, but you can still sign up to help at Helping Hands for the Hungry and Faith Chapel, both in Philadelphia. Sites will continue to be added to hungercoalition.org/holiday-volunteer-opportunities or contribute to the organization at hungercoalition.salsalabs.org/give.
If you aren't able to donate your time this year, Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission, an organization that has been serving the city's homeless for 130 years, is looking for donations of Thanksgiving food items in order to feed nearly 5,700 people. They need turkeys, canned vegetables, sweet potatoes, and stuffing mix, just to name a few. To donate, contact the volunteer coordinator at email@example.com.
Looking to put a delicious pie on the table and contribute to a good cause? There's still time to order pies through MANNA's annual Pie in the Sky fund-raiser. The organization, which brings food and aid to people at acute nutritional risk from life-threatening diseases, is selling a selection of pies, including berry, pumpkin, apple, pecan, sweet potato, and a chocolate-and-caramel signature cheesecake. Prices range from $30 to $35. Order pies online by Nov. 15 at mannapies.org.
Urban Affairs Coalition, which provides 2,000 baskets with Thanksgiving foods to over 12,000 individuals, is holding its annual basket stuffing at Brown's Family ShopRite at 24th Street and Oregon Avenues on Saturday, Nov. 17, from 9 a.m. to noon. If you can't make it on Saturday, you can help out on the following Monday by helping distribute the baskets. Volunteers must be at least 14 years old and interested parties should contact Salomon Moreno-Rosa at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up or for more details.
This Camden-based food pantry needs volunteers to help with unloading food donations and stocking the shelves ahead of the holiday. Volunteers need to be at least 18, or 16 with adult supervision. In order to sign up, visit jerseycares.org and email Jona Meyer.
The Omicron Delta Lamba Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. is hosting its annual day of service on Thanksgiving at Columbia North YMCA. The group is looking for volunteers to help with the free dinner as well of donations of clothing, toiletries, and money. Volunteers can choose from two shifts — 7 to 11 a.m. or 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. — and will be asked to sort clothes, set up food stations, serve clients, clean up and break down stations, and help sort donations. Donations are accepted the day before at National Temple Baptist Church on Master Street between 16th and 17th Streets. Register at eventbrite.com or contact the organization at email@example.com with any questions.
Rock Ministries is hosting its annual Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 22 in Kensington, and you can sign up to volunteer day of or help out by dropping off donations. Staff members are still looking for trays of mashed potatoes, cranberries, gravy, cookies, pies, serving trays, and more. Visit therockphilly.org or call 215-739-3927 for more information or to sign up.
Global Citizen is collecting donations of men's and women's underwear of all sizes, socks, wool hats and scarves, individually wrapped snacks such as cookies, candy, and crackers, and individual cans of soda for the homeless. They'll be at the Thomas Paine Plaza at 1401 JFK Blvd. after the Thanksgiving Day Parade from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., so drop by afterward.
One Warm Coat collects gently used and clean coats, so if you have old coats lying around, now is a great time to donate them. Philadelphia has nine drop-off locations, and there are ones in Ardmore, West Chester, and King of Prussia as well. You can find a list of locations at onewarmcoat.org.
This Kensington soup kitchen offers homeless guests meals, and they need volunteers and donations around the holidays. To inquire about volunteering opportunities, contact Sister Leslie at 215-423-5845 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you can't donate your time, consider checking out the group's Amazon wish list, which includes items like underwear, diapers, toothpaste, and more.