It’s almost that time of the year when we all sit down and say what we’re thankful for before stuffing ourselves with a huge turkey feast. Actions speak louder than words, which is why volunteering your time and effort to the community and those who are in need is undeniably a more meaningful expression of gratitude.
Whether it’s a large commitment or a small gesture, there are countless ways we can share our blessings. If you find yourself in a fortunate position and want to help those in need, here’s a list of local charities that could use your time and effort this holiday season.
#1 Share Vancouver
Inclusion, diversity, and equity are the vanguard of Share Vancouver’s work. With a belief that every person counts, they provide sustainable solutions for their clients who need access to health care, housing, employment, and education systems.
The Share Meal & Nutrition Program serves daily, free meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). Their support extends beyond shelter and Outreach clients as they also include families and individuals who are working but still not able to make enough money to make ends meet.
If you’re eager to make a difference this Thanksgiving, you can join the ranks of volunteers from all over the county. As a volunteer, you will work alongside their residents and staff to help prepare and serve meals in their Hot Meal Program. If you’re ready to extend helping hands or want to check all of Share’s volunteer opportunities, click here.
#2 Clark County Food Bank
Clark County Food Bank works with over 50 nonprofit partner agencies at 130 distribution sites to alleviate hunger and its root causes. The food bank manages millions of pounds of food annually, which also equates to millions of meals for individuals and families experiencing hunger. They provide emergency food relief, positive influence, and opportunities.
You can join their fun, family-friendly 5K run/walk and 10K run this year on Thanksgiving morning. All race proceeds are donated directly to the Clark County Food Bank. This Turkey Trotter has raised enough funds to provide countless meals to food-insecure individuals in our community.
On top of that, there are also several ways you can get involved, including sorting and repacking perishable food, harvesting produce on the farm, or delivering food boxes. To volunteer at Clark County Food Bank, click here.
#3 Meals on Wheels People
Volunteering at Meals on Wheels People this Thanksgiving is an amazing way to make a difference in the lives of home-bound individuals in our community. You can be one of the program’s dedicated volunteers who deliver meals to those who need them most, right to their doorstep.
They deliver nutritious and delicious meals from Monday through Thursday and serve seniors who live in Clark County. Additionally, they offer medically tailored meals to support individuals who have chronic health conditions, are medically vulnerable, or facing other risk factors for hospitalization.
By lending a helping hand, you’re not only delivering a warm meal but also care and comfort to those who might be feeling isolated. To join them in spreading nourishment and kindness this holiday season, click here.
#4 FISH of Vancouver
FISH (Friends in Service to Humanity) of Vancouver, which started over five decades ago, provides free nutritionally balanced food to anyone declaring their need. They firmly believe that access to nutritious food is a fundamental human right and it’s significantly important for the elderly and children, who make up a huge portion of their clients.
In the 2022-23 period, FISH served more than 30,000 households and distributed over one million pounds of food. This Thanksgiving, you can get involved in various ways which include:
- Working at the check-in and distribution/box windows
- Sorting and packing food
- Organizing projects in the warehouse
- Hauling food from local stores and other sources
Just remember to wear closed-toed shoes, bring your own water and snacks, and maybe an extra layer since their warehouse can get chilly. Families are welcome, with kids as young as 8 years old joining under supervision. So, if you want to be a part of their mission to stop hunger, especially this holiday season, click here.
#5 Society of St. Vincent de Paul
Society of St. Vincent de Paul operates a food pantry, distributing an average of two tons of food daily. They also help our neighbors in need with clothing, toiletries, utility assistance, emergency shelter vouchers, and many other services that are requested on any given day.
They have various seasonal programs, including Thanksgiving food boxes, Christmas food boxes and gifts, and coats and shoes. Every year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, they provide about 400 food boxes to families living in the Vancouver and Evergreen school districts. Helping hands are needed this year with:
- Sorting food and re-filling shelves
- Picking up pastry and bread from grocery stores
- Sorting and distributing clothing
- Repacking hygiene items
- Packing and distributing Thanksgiving food boxes
For more information about volunteering, you can call (360) 694-5388 or visit their office during business hours (2456 NE Stapleton Rd., Vancouver, 98661).
#6 Santa’s Posse
Santa’s Posse is a heartwarming collaboration between our local community and the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, all working together to bring the spirit of Christmas by distributing food and toys to families in need. With their growing partnership and generous sponsors and volunteers, they will provide for more than 4,800 children in our community this year.
Dedicated volunteers are needed for the following:
- Dec. 14 – Form a production line to fill boxes with food. Everyone must be at least 16 years of age and be able to stay the entire 4 hours unless the tasks finish early.
- Dec. 17 – Contactless delivery of toys and food boxes for 1,500 families
Your help can definitely brighten the holiday season for countless families in our community. To join Santa’s Posse in spreading cheer and making a difference in the lives of those who need it most, click here.
A Few Final Suggestions…
Aside from volunteering, donating whenever and whatever you can is another wonderful way to make a meaningful impact. Whether that’s by collecting goods for your neighborhood food drive or delivering baked goods to those who work on Thanksgiving (animal shelter staff, firefighters, essential workers, etc.), there is never a gesture that’s too small. This Thanksgiving, let’s keep the tradition of giving alive and celebrate the holidays in a way that truly warms the heart.