8 Ways to Put the Giving in Thanksgiving This Year

Tis the season to be generous, and these organizations provide an array of ways to get involved

With Thanksgiving around the corner, it’s easy to give thanks—but it’s not always easy to give. Sure you can donate money or canned food, but sometimes it’s the gift of your time and energy that make all the difference in bettering our city. Giving back in Los Angeles can be fun, too, because there are so many ways to get involved. If you have an interest, odds are there’s a non-profit perfectly suited to you.

For the Beach Bum: Heal The Bay
Founded 30 years ago, Heal The Bay strives to keep our oceans, rivers, and beaches healthy by curbing pollution and preventing overfishing. You can give by cleaning up the beach, becoming a first responder, or spreading the word at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium.

For the Mover: Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition
Cyclists get the short end of the street in L.A., don’t they? Why not fight for their safety and rights with the LABC, a non-profit whose mission is to improve bike life for local riders? Getting the city moving takes more than just CicLAvia, and LABC keeps up the fight day in and day out.

For the Teacher: School On Wheels
School On Wheels enlists Angelenos to serve as tutors for local homeless youth. The program also provides scholarships, supplies, and guidance in education to kids, all to help prepare them for the pursuit of higher education. To make things even sweeter, School On Wheels even has Oprah’s approval.

For the Reader: Los Angeles Public Library’s Adult Literacy Program
L.A.’s libraries have a fantastic program that provides basic reading, writing, and comprehension tutoring for adults. All that is required of volunteers is the time to meet one-on-one with a tutee over the course of at least six months. Yes, that’s a big commitment, but the rewards for you and your tutee are even bigger.

For the Shopper: St. Vincent De Paul
Typically, locals go to a St. Vincent thrift store to look for home goods after a big move, but the organization is more than just a place to snag a cheap armchair—every sale benefits the needy. St. Vincent De Paul will pick up items from your home, take your old vehicles, and accept donations directly from manufacturers and retailers.

For the LGBT Ally: Los Angeles LGBT Center
The L.A. LGBT Center’s network of Hollywood locations provides invaluable health, housing, education, and advocacy service for LGBT persons. With hip collaborators and valuable research, the LGBT Center is a must for those hoping to help out.

For the History Nerd: Midnight Mission
Our city has a very real, very sad homeless problem. The problem has existed for over 100 years—and so has Midnight Mission. Started in 1914, the Skid Row-based organization helps local homeless people in myriad ways. You can participate by volunteering at their soup kitchen, making a donation, or becoming a tutor.

For the Guilty Driver: Coalition For Clean Air and Climate Resolve
Do you stress about how destructive your driving habit is to the environment? CCA and Climate Resolve are here for you. The groups aim to clean local air and combat climate change by advancing emissions reduction and clean transportation. It’s time to take your concern for the environment to the next level.