Upstater Destinations: Volunteering on Thanksgiving

  |  November 21, 2013

soup kitchen thanksgiving

More so than any other time of the year, charitable organizations get flooded with volunteers during the holiday season, but that doesn’t mean they still don’t need your help. The number of people in upstate New York (and most everywhere else) that have fallen on unfortunate times has grown over the past several years, which means that soup kitchens and shelters are being stretched beyond their limits with what they can provide to those in need. And while these organizations need volunteers all year round, Thanksgiving is the perfect time to dedicate yourself to serving your community in some capacity or another. Besides, if you’re one of those who finds the holiday season depressing, volunteering gives you the perfect opportunity to get out of your own head and focus your energy on someone who needs your help.

Fortunately, there are a multitude of ways to lend a hand during the holidays, from shelters to soup kitchens to retirement homes to hospitals. Reach out to some local churches and see if they need help prepping for their community meal or with clean-up afterward. Check in with a retirement home and ask if any of the residents need a visitor on Thanksgiving day. Find out what’s in short supply at your neighborhood food pantry, and make a special delivery. Or, just ask a friend you know is in need if there’s anything you can do: Can you cook them dinner? Pick up a relative from the airport to save them a trip? Play charades with the kids to keep them occupied?  Your volunteer opportunity doesn’t need to take place at a charitable organization’s special event. It can happen right down the street or in your own home. All you have to provide is your time.

Here are a few charity organizations in the Upstater area to start off your search:

Queens Galley Soup Kitchen and Food Pantry, Kingston

Clinton Avenue United Methodist Church, Kingston

Daily Bread Soup Kitchen, Woodstock

Family of Woodstock/New Paltz/Ellenville

Equinox Thanksgiving Day Community Dinner, Albany

Food Pantries of Greene County

Food Pantries in Columbia County

Soup Kitchens and Food Pantries in Ulster County

Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York

Dutchess Outreach

Sullivan County Federation for the Homeless

Delaware Opportunities (list of food banks)

About Kandy Harris

Kandy is a writer and musician/music teacher living in Saugerties, NY.

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