The problem with wanting to help the so-called less fortunate on Thanksgiving is that it's usually the only day of the year most people feel like volunteering. While researching this year's roundup of Thanksgiving-related volunteer opps, we discovered a number of local nonprofits that are already filled to capacity -- not with hungry people, but volunteers.
Nonetheless, most organizations still need help actually procuring the meals, so if you suddenly find yourself willing and unable to lend a hand on Thanksgiving, consider making a donation to any one of your favorite charities instead -- chances are they can use your help. And of course, if you still feel like doing some good for your fellow humans, remember that every single person needs at least one good meal, every day of the year.
10. Otay Group
You could call the Otay Group the little nonprofit that could, and it does -- feed the homeless, that is. Otay stands for "organized trips around youth," and it's a core group of just seven friends who need your help feeding the hungry, not only during Thanksgiving, but all year 'round. otaygroup.com.
9. Toberman Neighborhood Center
The Toberman Neighborhood Center serves families and community members in the Harbor Area, so if you happen to live near Carson, Long Beach or any of the other areas along the Port of Los Angeles, this non-profit is for you. And if you're not sure about volunteering your services throughout the year, the annual Thanksgiving food drive is a good place to start. toberman.org.
8. Gobble Gobble Give
This national event is one of the best-organized publicly mobilized ad hoc Thanksgiving efforts around, serving New York, Las Vegas, Austin and San Francisco, not to mention Los Angeles and Santa Monica (yep, our region doesn't have just one Gobble Gobble Give, but two). Volunteers meet beforehand to assemble care packages with heated meals, plus an assortment of brand-new toiletries, clothing and blankets, too. Everyone is done by 1 p.m., leaving room for volunteers to spend quality time with their own friends and family on Thanksgiving Day. gobblegobblegive.org.
7. Hope of the Valley
The Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission wants to "make homeless history" at the 2012 Thanksgiving banquet, which actually takes place the day before Thanksgiving. While the event already has enough volunteers, the charity still needs help getting sponsors to contribute $250 per table to help feed more than 1,000 people on Thanksgiving Eve.
6. One Incredible Family Inc.
Groups gather at the Westchester Masonic Center in Playa Del Rey for the 19th annual homeless feeding and banner creation on Saturday, November 24. Meal preps begin at 6:30 a.m., followed by assembly and packaging in the afternoon, and finally, delivery in the early evening. One Incredible Family Inc. still needs help with delivery, as well as donations of drinks and pre-cooked turkey and pies. oneincrediblefamily.org.