It’s nearly that time of year when we gather with friends and family around a delicious meal (and likely some football) to reflect on what we are thankful for. One of the best ways to express that gratitude is to give back to your community. With organizations supporting a variety of causes all over Michigan, there is no shortage of opportunities for you and your family to get involved. Here are just a few of the ways to share your time and energy this Thanksgiving:

Children’s Hospital of Michigan | Detroit

Volunteering with the Children’s Hospital of Michigan is a fulfilling way to brighten the day of children and their families as they go through a difficult time. There are many ways to help out, such as rocking or feeding a baby, reading to children, visiting patients with your certified pet therapy dog, acting as a tour guide or participating in art cart activities. Learn more about becoming a volunteer here.

Meals on Wheels | Statewide

This is a wonderful opportunity to make sure everyone in Michigan can enjoy a delicious meal during the holidays. Meals on Wheels is committed to providing nutritious food to seniors who have limited mobility or who may not be able to cook for themselves. Volunteer opportunities include pantry work, cooking, administrative duties and delivering food. You can apply here to volunteer as an individual or as a group.

Cooking Matters | Southeast Michigan

Cooking Matters, a Share Our Strength program, teaches low-income individuals and families valuable nutrition information and cooking skills. Volunteers participate as instructors or consultants in the courses, teaching cooking techniques and providing nutrition education. While certain roles require culinary or dietetic experience, there are class assistant roles that require no formal training. You can sign up here. Cooking Matters’ local partner Gleaners Community Food Bank also offers a variety of volunteer family-friendly opportunities to consider year-round, like sorting and packaging of food items to stock their distribution centers.

Ronald McDonald House | Mid-Michigan

For families with sick children in the hospital, Ronald McDonald House provides a home-away-from-home. To keep families comfortable and feeling as normal as possible, consider taking a shift at a local Ronald McDonald House. You can greet families, answer phones and keep kitchen and public areas clean and organized. Love cooking? Make a home-cooked meal to share with residents. Certain tasks require volunteers to be 18 or older, so if you want to get the whole family involved, consider hosting a fundraiser or donating common household items to the house. Sign up here to help out in the Mid-Michigan location (or head here to see locations around the state).

Volunteers of America | Statewide

Service through Volunteers of America supports our nation’s veterans, homeless, seniors and many others in need. Activities you can participate in include sorting clothes for the homeless, serving meals and helping with administrative work. With opportunities available statewide and year-round, there is something for everyone looking to support their community. You can apply to volunteer, here.

Photo Credit: anjanettew


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