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Where to Volunteer in Dallas This Thanksgiving

Giving love and light is one of the most rewarding ways to spend your holiday. Are you grateful for your many blessings this year? Looking for a way to give back to the community that has given you so much? Here’s where to volunteer in Dallas this holiday season, before or after you delight in that epic turkey day spread.

How to Teach Your Kids About Giving Back to the Community


1. Volunteer at the North Texas Food Bank

The holiday food distributions take place at several participating food pantries in the North Texas Food Bank service areas. Most distributions include turkeys, vegetables, and other seasonal items. This nonprofit served 125 million meals in the last fiscal year through its network of 400 partner agencies in 13 counties.

2. Deliver for the Visiting Nurses Association’s Meals on Wheels Program

The Visiting Nurses Association’s Meals on Wheels program needs your help to deliver hot meals to 4,500 people throughout Dallas County, many of whom are chronically ill and/or seniors that are unable to leave the house. This is an ideal volunteer opportunity for those that need flexibility as both the delivery route and the meal pick up times vary. Plus, who wouldn’t want to contribute to making someone’s day simply by delivering a hot meal to their front door with a smile?

3. Work a Shift with Your Family at CitySquare

Join fight against poverty with CitySquare, an organization that has both virtual and in-person volunteer opportunities to help your neighbors in need. The group addresses hunger, health and housing, while helping to find hope to more than 50,000 people a year.

volunteer in dallas clean up trash at white rock lake
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4. Clean up Trash at White Rock Lake (or Your Favorite Park of Choice)

Use your time off work to revisit the areas in town that you love and spend the time to give them a little TLC. Our favorite spot that always seems to have too much trash lying about? The walking trails and the shoreline surrounding White Rock Lake. Grab a bag and get to picking up that trash. Thanksgiving perk: all that walking will burn off that extra piece of pie (or two) that you stole from your sister.

5. Volunteer with The Salvation Army

This charitable organization is everywhere, which means that you can help their important cause regardless of where you spend your holiday season. (Yes, Sheila even if you vacation in Aspen for Thanksgiving, there’s a Salvation Army near you.) Volunteer opportunities vary depending on time, talents and resources, but for the most low-effort way to give back, keep an eye out for the iconic holiday volunteers that sit outside of local vendors ringing a red bell and asking for donations.

6. Participate in Operation Turkey of Dallas

This holiday organization is awesome because it has remained 100 percent volunteer run for 22 years. This involves more than 30,000 volunteers, one of which could be you, that work together to ensure that everyone receives a warm meal on Thanksgiving Day. Whether you are cooking, plating, cleaning, delivering or packaging, you are going to be put to work. Kids are encouraged so bring the entire crew.

7. Become a Four-Legged Friend’s Bestie at SPCA of Texas

Founded in 1938, this animal welfare agency in North Texas is full of fantastic opportunities for animal lovers to give back based on their interests. Volunteer opportunities come in all shapes and sizes just like the animals that pack the shelters. From cuddling animals to keeping the community clean to donating pet food, you’ll find something that satisfies your philanthropic pleasure here. Wanting to foster? Say no more.

volunteer in dallas write thank you notes to first responders
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8. Write Thank You Notes to First Responders

Getting to sit at home with your family and argue about politics with your uncle Carl is a privilege and one that we should not take lightly. Gather your family on Thanksgiving and remind them how thankful we should all be for our firefighters, EMTs and policemen and woman that work around the clock to keep us safe and out of harm’s way. Whether you put the pen to paper or get your kids to decorate thank you cards, you can be sure that there are local first responders working on Thanksgiving away from their families that might need a little pick-me-up more than we realize.

9. Register to Run in a Turkey Trot

One of the most festive ways to give back during the holidays is to participate in a turkey trot that gives back to a cause that is dear to you. The quintessential North Texas option is the Dallas YMCA Turkey Trot which claims to be the largest Thanksgiving Day event of its kind in the entire country. It started in 1967 and has grown into the spectacle that it is today. There is everything from an eight-mile walk/run to a trot at home option. Proceeds benefit the YMCA of Dallas.