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7 Ideas to Show Thanks Through Service

by Greg Tucker

A day designed around the idea of “thanks” is a natural for those who want to give back. And as Americans have opened their hearts and wallets to disasters like the Hurricane Sandy relief and recovery efforts, there are many other ways to show thanks by helping those in need this holiday season.

Give Time: The holidays can be a difficult time for many seniors who won't be able to spend time with friends or family. Consider visiting senior housing facilities in your area to bring some cheer into the lives of seniors who would appreciate the company.

As you gather for your Thanksgiving feast, consider ways to give back to others this holiday season.

Give Food: Before you lapse into a tryptophan-based coma on Turkey Day, take a moment to think of those less fortunate who may be struggling to put food on the table. Food banks can always use donations to address ongoing needs. Help by bringing donations to the banks or even organizing a drive with your friends and neighbors. Visit our toolkits section to learn more about organizing an event.

Give to Families in Need: Some may want to make a more personal connection with their donations. Family-to-Family helps about 2,000 families in 22 communities across the nation and provides the option to make giving a monthly option with the opportunity to add additional items non-food necessities as well.

Give Warmth: Winter is coming soon if it hasn't already arrived where you live. Check your closets for old coats in good condition that you can donate to keep someone else warm. If you live in the New York City area, consider donating to the New York Cares Coat Drive. If not, One Warm Coat has a tool that can help you find coat drives around the nation.

Give to the Troops: Soldiers serving overseas would love to hear from the folks at home during this time of year. Anysoldier.com helps connect soldiers with people who want to send care packages and write letters of support to men and women serving in the armed forces.

Give Back to Veterans: Thereare numerous opportunities to serve veterans at VA facilities across the nation. Sign up to volunteer or find donation wish lists on the Department of Veterans Affairs website.

Give to Good Causes: While many will be participating in the consumer-focused Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, a new movement is in the works for Nov. 27 to highlight charitable acts that support nonprofit groups on #GivingTuesday. Visit the website and follow #GivingTuesday on Twitter to discover ideas for giving and what groups have planned for the event.

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