It’s almost that time of the year when we all sit down and say what we’re thankful for before stuffing ourselves with a huge turkey feast. Actions speak louder than words, which is why volunteering your time and effort to the community and those who are in need is undeniably a more meaningful expression of gratitude.
Whether it’s a large commitment or a small gesture, there are countless ways we can share our blessings. If you find yourself in a fortunate position and want to help those in need, here’s a list of local charities that could use your time and effort this holiday season.
#1 Thanksgiving Heroes
Thanksgiving Heroes is a nonprofit organization that embodies the spirit of compassion and gratitude. Since 2015, they have transformed the lives of countless Utahns by ensuring that all those who are in need can enjoy a Thanksgiving feast. Their involvement with the community and commitment to inclusivity is what makes them stand out, collaborating with schools, religious organizations, and local businesses to reach a wider audience.
This organization provides traditional Thanksgiving staples to over 3,000 families each year. Helping hands are needed with meal delivery. Volunteers will be delivering a full meal to families.
The efforts of Thanksgiving Heroes and its thousands of volunteers have not only filled empty stomachs but have also helped the diverse population feel more hopeful and united. Click here to volunteer and be part of this heartwarming tradition.
#2 Salt Lake City Mission
Salt Lake City Mission is dedicated to supporting the homeless community, families living in poverty, and others who are struggling in life through long-term recovery programs and emergency services. They offer services like job counseling, education assistance, and crisis intervention in addition to providing basic essentials like hygiene items, food, and clothing to those in need.
Until Thanksgiving Day, volunteers are invited to join their multi-week effort to collect essential supplies and food for the holiday event that provides thousands of meals to the homeless and hungry. On top of that, Salt Lake City Mission also organizes events to distribute holiday food boxes.
They welcome volunteers of all ages, allowing you to involve your family and friends in this meaningful activity. To volunteer at the Salt Lake City Mission Thanksgiving Dinner, click here.
#3 Meals on Wheels
Volunteering at Salt Lake’s Meals on Wheels program this Thanksgiving is an amazing way to make a difference in the lives of home-bound older adults in our community. You can be one of the program’s dedicated volunteers who deliver mid-day meals to those who need them most, right to their doorstep.
These nutritionally balanced meals are delivered during weekdays. Food for the weekend, delivered on Thursday and Friday, is provided for eligible individuals. Special diets are available and all meals are low-fat, low-calorie, and low-sodium.
Plus, recipients who struggle to provide for their pets can also receive complimentary pet food. By lending a helping hand, you’re not only delivering a warm meal but also care and comfort to those who might be feeling isolated. To join them in spreading nourishment and kindness this holiday season, contact (385) 468-3196.
#4 Utah Food Bank
For almost 12 decades, Utah Food Bank has remained committed to its goal of helping people in need all around the state. Together with their community partners and volunteers, they continue to make an impact and fulfill its mission of fighting hunger statewide. The Utah Food Bank distributed over 56 million meals last year through a network of 230 partner organizations located across all 29 counties.
Besides being one of the few food banks that distributes food free of charge, they also provide many direct service programs to help the most vulnerable populations in the state — children and seniors. Here are some things you can do if you volunteer:
- Sort food donations
- Assemble food boxes
- Repack bulk food into family-sized amounts
- Label food for distribution
You can also join their annual Utah Human Races on Thanksgiving morning where all proceeds will directly help feed those who face hunger. Please note that all volunteers must be at least 12 years of age, except children signed up for family volunteer shifts. If you want to become a Utah Food Bank volunteer, click here.
#5 The Salvation Army Salt Lake City
The Salvation Army is an international movement that provides resources to the community to overcome poverty, help disaster survivors, and cure hunger. This Thanksgiving, they will provide hot meals to 1,000 seniors and shut-ins.
Volunteering opportunities for their Thanksgiving Meal include:
- Runners: You will take meals from the planting area out to the volunteer drivers in their cars who will deliver those meals throughout the valley.
- Traffic Controllers: You will guide the line of volunteer delivery drivers, help people get in line, answer questions, and direct media/inside volunteers on available parking.
- Kitchen Helpers: You will help resupply food on the assembly line, remove dirty dishes, clean dishes, and clean the kitchen after the event.
Please note that you must be at least 14 years old to volunteer, stay the entirety of the shift, and wear appropriate attire for working inside, outside, or in the kitchen. If you’re interested in helping give a warm, delicious Thanksgiving meal to those who are in need, click here to volunteer.
#6 Utah Crisis Food Response
Utah Crisis Food Response is a nonprofit organization that aims to end local hunger. They partner with food pantries across the Wasatch Front to provide free home delivery of food pantry items for low-income families, the elderly, the disabled, immigrants, and those who lack reliable transportation.
With their volunteers, they have delivered more than 750,000 meals to individuals in Salt Lake County. As a volunteer, you will be sent to a local food pantry to pick up a food order. A food box will be placed in your car for a recipient, after which you will deliver the food box to their home.
Currently, they conduct food deliveries on Wednesdays and Fridays, with senior boxes available for daily delivery. Depending on demand, you might be tasked to deliver up to four food boxes to multiple clients. If you’re ready to make a difference this holiday season, click here to be part of this meaningful mission.
A Few Final Suggestions…
Aside from volunteering, donating whenever and whatever you can is another wonderful way to make a meaningful impact. Whether that’s by collecting goods for your neighborhood food drive or delivering baked goods to those who work on Thanksgiving (animal shelter staff, firefighters, essential workers, etc.), there is never a gesture that’s too small. This Thanksgiving, let’s keep the tradition of giving alive and celebrate the holidays in a way that truly warms the heart.