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Central Florida: Five Ways to Give Back This Thanksgiving

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By Loretta Maimone   Follow me: Loretta Maimone on Facebook
Mon, Nov 10, 2014 at 9:43AM

Thanksgiving is coming up, and we’re all busy planning dinners and writing our guest lists. As you reflect on what you’re thankful for and spend time with your family this year, consider one of the following ways you can help make someone else’s Thanksgiving special, too.

1. Donate your time at a soup kitchen.

Find a kitchen or food bank in your area where you can help serve families in need on or around Thanksgiving. A hot dinner and a bit of your time can mean a world of difference for many around the holidays.

2. Prepare a Thanksgiving gift basket.

Whether you make one yourself or pick up the supplies for one, a gift basket with all the fixings can be a huge blessing to an in-need family come Thanksgiving Day. Local churches and charities distribute them throughout the community, which you can also help with. Make your baskets special with decorative ribbon, a card or other meaningful touches. Whatever route you take, a gift basket is a great (and personal) way to give back this holiday.

3. Participate in a food drive.

Just like with gift baskets, you can usually find a church or charity that’s participating in a Thanksgiving food drive. You can either drop off your canned and nonperishable goods at such a drive or help with the collection, boxing and distribution of them closer to the big day.

Are you a planner? You can always conduct a food drive at your own church, office or school if they aren’t holding one already! This is a fantastic way to get the whole community together in pursuit of a common, selfless goal.

4. Thank a soldier.

Many Americans won’t be able to have Thanksgiving dinner at home this year. To honor and give thanks to the men and women who fight for the country, consider sending a care package or card through an organization like Treats for Troops. The Cell Phones for Soldiers program, where you donate money or old phones to help a soldier call home, is another way to connect those who are deployed overseas. You can get the kids involved with card-making and preparing care packages, too.

5. Run a Turkey Trot.

You and your family can take part in a Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot, a lighthearted footrace in which participants can run or walk, usually to raise money for charity. This is a great way to help fundraise for good causes… all while burning off calories before the big Thanksgiving dinner. 

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