It seems like turkey day is one of the few times that most people feel like volunteering, which means that usually, Thanksgiving-related volunteer opportunities have more helpers than hungry people. This year, however, a number of local nonprofits still need assistance not just procuring meals — they also need help with the actual volunteering.
If you're still unable to donate your time, consider donating cash and/or food items to any one of your favorite charities instead, because chances are they can use your help. And, as usual, if you still feel like offering your services for free on Thanksgiving, remember there are people who can always use your help, every day of the year.
10. One Voice Holiday Food Program
Technically, this program is designed to feed families around the holiday season, but given that Thanksgiving has become increasingly absorbed by Christmas, it's OK. You can get started early on the holiday program by purchasing a gift card for $35 or $50, and/or signing up to volunteer to help put together holiday food and gift baskets to take care of 12,500 people across Los Angeles. onevoice-la.org
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 nonprofit is for you. The annual food drive is happening until Dec. 20. toberman.org.
8. Operation Gobble
The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank continues to celebrate its 40th anniversary as one of the city's leading nonprofits with Operation Gobble on Tuesday, Nov. 26, from 12:30 to 4 p.m. at the food bank's headquarters (south of downtown at 2825 E. 54th St.). The organization needs volunteers to put together Thanksgiving food packages full of nonperishable food items to feed up to 23,000 low-income people across L.A. County. lafoodbank.org
7. 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. 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.
6. One Incredible Family Inc.
Groups gather at the Westchester Masonic Center in Playa Del Rey for the 20th annual homeless feeding and banner creation on Saturday, Nov. 30. Meal preps begin at 6:30 a.m., followed by assembly and packaging in the afternoon, and finally, delivery in the early evening and cleanup later on. One Incredible Family still needs help with delivery, as well as donations of precooked turkey and pies. oneincrediblefamily.org.
5. Westside Thanksgiving Community Dinner and Celebration
This free community event has been going strong since 1982, and this year it's moving from the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium to St. Anne Catholic Church and School at 2015 Colorado Ave. in Santa Monica. Not only do they need turkeys and other treats but also new stuffed animals for the kids and 110 pounds of ground coffee for the grown-ups. Thanksgiving Day drop-off starts at 6 a.m. (entrance is on 20th Street) and the pre–Thanksgiving Day dropoff is Monday through Wednesday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church on 1220 2nd St. Unlike last year, they can't take reservations or signups, but there are still five work shifts that need to be filled at 6 a.m., 8 a.m., 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. westsidethanksgiving.org.
4. Food on Foot
Since 1996, Food on Foot has been distributing weekly meals in Hollywood, with an annual Thanksgiving Day celebration to boot. Each guest gets a new sleeping bag and other necessities in addition to a Thanksgiving meal. The nonprofit still has a few spaces left for volunteers, so register now. foodonfoot.org.
3. Westside Food Bank
This volunteer organization provides meals to clients of social service agencies on the Westside, with most of the food coming from donations. For its annual turkey drive, the Westside Food Bank still needs donations for turkeys, sides, and dessert. westsidefoodbankca.org.
2. Union Station Homeless Services Thanksgiving Dinner-in-the-Park
Pasadena's massive Thanksgiving Dinner-in-the-Park community event on Nov. 28, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., already has enough volunteers, but Union Station Homeless Services still welcomes cash donations and store-bought pies. Other wish-list items include nonperishable cans of food, disposable aluminum cooking pans and bottles of water, delivered to 412 S. Raymond Ave., before Thanksgiving. unionstationhs.org.
1. Jewish Family Service of Los Angeles / SOVA Community Food and Resource Program
SOVA helps people out throughout the year, not just on Thanksgiving. The organization also welcomes one-off volunteers for hands-on opportunities, but if you'd rather help out from your computer this Thanksgiving, you can participate in a virtual food drive and donate everything from a holiday dinner for eight ($50) to enough milk to take care of 700 families ($500). You're bound to make a difference either way. jfsla.org