Volunteering on Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be an all-day affair. All of the following ideas can be done in just a few hours, so that you’re back in time to eat turkey with the fam. And watch NFL…and maybe see Life of Pi…and take a nap. If you couldn't tell, we’re pretty psyched for Turkey Day ourselves. :)
- Serve dinner at a homeless shelter: Homeless shelters need volunteers to prepare and serve meals for those without a home. Whether or not you're handy with a frying pan, homeless shelters appreciate the extra help. Check out The National Coalition for the Homeless  or The Salvation Army  for ideas on where to help out.
- Deliver a meal: If you have a car (or if you can borrow a car from the rents’) consider volunteering with a local Meals on Wheels  program to bring a hot dinner to those who aren’t able to join family or friends.
- Run a Turkey Trot: Turkey Trots are races that often benefit local charities, planned for on or around Thanksgiving. Not only are these runs for a good cause, but they’re also a way to burn calories – which means you can definitely have that second piece of pumpkin pie.
- Invite a Neighbor or Classmate: Perhaps you know someone who may not be having a holiday meal. Invite them to have Thanksgiving dinner with your family.
- Take Dishes to Public Service People: Thanksgiving is just another working day for public service people. Take a few dishes to the local fire station or police department for the people on duty. If you live in a small town, you could even call the non-emergency dispatch number and let the dispatcher know that anyone on duty is welcome to stop by your home for a hot meal. (Just check with your family first, or this could turn into one of the crazier Modern Family episodes.)
- Visit a Hospital: Visit a local hospital and spend time with the sick patients there. Make sure to call in advance (or go online) to find out about volunteer policies . Worried that entertaining strangers will be awkward turtle (or should we say, awkward turkey)? Think of a specific activity you could do with the patients. For example, you could bring a picture book about Thanksgiving to read in the children’s ward.
- Visit a Retirement Home: Elderly people often spend T-Day without their family, especially if their kids live far away. Help ease their loneliness by visiting them and spreading the Thanksgiving cheer.
Eat smarter on Thanksgiving. GO