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Riley Heruska
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The upcoming holiday tends to revolve around three things here in Texas: amazing food, a football game, and the approaching Black Friday deals. However, there's nothing more quintessentially Thanksgiving than expressing appreciation for all of the positive aspects of your life. People do so in numerous ways throughout November, from sharing what they have with others to uttering prayers of gratitude. 

One of the best ways to show your Thanksgiving spirit is to get involved with your community by giving back. Here are a few ways you can do that without even leaving the DFW area next week. 

Volunteer to Feed the Homeless or Unemployed  

Anyone who has a seat at a Thanksgiving dinner table should be considered lucky. Not everyone has a home or family to turn to on this holiday, so see what you can do to help those who aren't as fortunate. A Homeless Thanksgiving will take place at the Martin Luther King Carwash in Dallas on Thanksgiving day, and the coordinators are still asking for volunteers and donations. Dallas LIFE will host their second Annual Turkey Fry the day before Thanksgiving, and Care Center Ministries asks for roughly 300 volunteers for their big dinner. The Stewpot, a kitchen that provides resources for at-risk or homeless individuals, serves meals every day but can use a little extra help at this time of year. 

Do a simple Google search and see what soup kitchens, homeless shelters, or other organizations in your area need assistance. You'll be surprised by how many volunteer opportunities you can find within minutes. 

Deliver Meals to People in Need 

You've probably seen several Meals on Wheels training sessions posted on our calendars over the past few months. That's because the organization always appreciates extra help delivering food to those who can't venture out on their own. There are Meals on Wheels sectors in various DFW counties, and all of them aim to provide fresh, nutritious prepared meals to homebound seniors, low-income families, and people with chronic disabilities. To see how you can help, visit the organization's website. Even if you can't run around delivering food, you can contribute to their various drives and donate necessary items like pet food, toiletries, and more. 

Spread Some Holiday Cheer at Local Hospitals 

This weekend, the Women's Auxiliary group is looking for volunteers to help deck the halls of Children's Medical Center in an effort to bring the holiday season to patients and their families. The week after Thanksgiving, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children will be full of volunteers as they place Christmas trees around the buildings. Call your local medical centers and see what you can to do bring a few smiles to patients' faces. 

Run in the Annual Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot 

You've probably seen it on television or heard about it from other people, but have you ever participated in this Thanksgiving tradition? The 5k run/walk and 8-mile race raise money for the YMCA's youth programs, which help keep children healthy and safe after school and during the summers. Volunteers are needed to support the runners, organize the event, and handle donations. Whether you join in the race or stand on the sideline, getting involved in this event is an easy way to make a difference. Visit the Turkey Trot's website to find out more. 

Donate Food to Local Organizations 

If you're hosting guests or going out of town, you might not be able to offer your in-person services to others, but you can make sure there is enough food to go around at local non-profits. Operation Turkey will be accepting clothing, care packages, and more at various locations throughout the Dallas metroplex, as will OurCalling. Find out where donations are being gathered near you and give what you can to make the holiday more enjoyable for others. 

Support Troops and Military Families 

Not everyone gets to be with family or friends on Thanksgiving. Operation Home Front hosts Holiday Meals for Military events in several Texas cities where they distribute meal kits to military families. Full Circle Home helps bridge the gap between troops and their families by allowing deployed troops to send gift packages home. You can also donate online to Operation Help a Hero to give a Marine a movie or dinner. Homefront America's "Giving Thanks to Heroes" program also accepts donations that allow them to provide Turkey Certificates to military families who need to grocery shop for the holiday. 


So, how will you give back this Thanksgiving?

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