It’s one thing to stuff yourself on Thanksgiving Day. It’s a whole different ball game to fill someone else’s plate. If you’ve never experienced the joy of sharing such a classic American meal with hundreds of thankful strangers (and even if you have), we highly suggest you give it a shot. Feeding or simply serving someone can be as satisfying as a heaping plate of mashed potatoes and gravy. Here are a few local volunteer opportunities where you can make a difference this week:
Westside Thanksgiving Community Dinner & Celebration
WHEN: Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday all day.
WHERE: Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, 1855 Main Street, Santa Monica
WHAT: Last year more than 1,200 volunteers served 2,500 meals and distributed tons of clothing and blankets. They also provided hundreds of children's immunizations, haircuts, and free medical consultations.
Los Angeles Mission Thanksgiving
WHEN: Wednesday and Thursday all day
WHERE: Los Angeles Mission, 303 East 5th Street, Los Angeles
WHAT: Volunteering doesn’t just mean serving meals— the L.A. Mission is looking for donations of food, clothing, gifts, cash, and time. All will benefit the lives of impoverished men, women, and children who live on and around Skid Row. Last year volunteers and celebrities dished up 3,000 pounds of turkey, 700 pounds of sesame and garlic roasted mashed potatoes, 800 pounds of green beans, and 600 pies; about 4,000 meals in all.
Union Station Thanksgiving Dinner-In-The-Park
WHEN: Thursday at 10 a.m.
WHERE: Pasadena’s Central Park, 275 S. Raymond Avenue, Pasadena
WHAT: Nicknamed the “Biggest Potluck in the Nation,” this event provides thousands of Thanksgiving meals for homeless men, women, children, seniors, very low-income families, and people who have no place where else to spend the holiday.
Food on Foot
WHEN: Thursday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
WHERE: 1625 N. Schrader Ave., Hollywood
WHAT: Volunteers will distribute hot nutritious meals, bus tokens, and sleeping bags to over 500 homeless and poor in Hollywood on Thanksgiving Day.
14th Annual Gobble Gobble Give
WHEN: Thursday setup begins at 7 a.m., event begins at 10 a.m.
WHERE: The Echo, 1822 West Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles
WHAT: Gobble Gobble Give is looking for volunteers to serve food and/or to give clothing, toiletries, and time to those in need. The goal is to serve 6,000 meals.