Every year in our area the Salvation Army has a Thanksgiving Dinner for anyone who wants to attend. Local businesses in the area donate the food and volunteers serve the meal. I’m sure in every area it’s different. One year when I lived in a larger town, the dinner was held in a large auditorium and we worked on a “cafeteria style” line, serving food as people carried their tray along. I live in a smaller area now and the Salvation Army Dinner is held at the local Applebees Restaurant. The Restaurant donates it’s facility and many of it’s staff members. Not only can anyone come to the restaurant and eat Thanksgiving Dinner, there is also a delivery service. People call in and volunteers drive hot meals to their homes.
It’s such a wonderful thing to be part of. Everyone is coming together – you feel a happy sense of cammeraderie with all the volunteers and people who come to eat the meal. When we volunteer we all go as a family. I’ve noticed that many people bring their children to volunteer too. The kids love to serve drinks or bus tables – whatever is needed for them to do. It’s such a great way to teach kids the wonderful message of sharing and caring for everyone in our world!
If you don’t have anyone who wants to volunteer with you, don’t let that stop you! I’m a pretty shy person (before you get to know me) but there was never time for that when I volunteered. You’re so busy working and everyone was so friendly, it was easy to feel right at home. I think the thing that surprised me about working at the dinners is how many people are alone on the holidays. Many of them can afford to buy a dinner, they just don’t have anyone to share it with. I think that’s so sad, and I’m so happy that there is someplace for people to go where they won’t be alone on a holiday. Many people who ate the dinners would donate to the Salvation Army, but of course this isn’t necessary at all – they just wanted to help out too!
I highly recommend incorporating this tradition of “Giving” into your own Thanksgiving Day. The Salvation Army website has lot of information about volunteering, and I’m sure that there are plenty of other organizations in your particular area that is working this holiday to share food, company and a bit of happiness with others in the community. Really – you will not regret it. We usually volunteer to work in the early morning or early afternoon and there’s still plenty of time to go home and enjoy a Thanksgiving Dinner with your family!
There is nothing like volunteering to help others to make you clearly see how much you have to be thankful for in your own life!