UPDATE: For 2015 volunteer opportunities, check out our more recent article on the subject.
A recent Philly Reddit post wondered how people could donate time or services on Thanksgiving Day in Philadelphia — so Billy Penn set off in search of the answer. Homeless shelters in Philly engage more than 5,500 people living on the streets each year, and food kitchens serve many, many more. They need your help for the holidays.
Here’s the good news: A bunch of places we contacted were already full of volunteers. So… go Philly! Lindsay Hughes, a spokeswoman with Philabundance, a hunger and food relief organization, said the organization won’t need volunteers on Thanksgiving Day, but said the best way to get involved is to find your local homeless shelter or food pantry and call to ask if they need assistance on Thanksgiving. With more than 400 food pantries and soup kitchens in the region, you should be able to find one locally that needs a hand. Search here for where to find them.
Here are a few other opportunities we came across:
What: Serve a hot meal to homeless people or prepare and distribute care packages. You can also bring items for the care packages, such as wool hats and scarves, sodas and desserts.
Who: The African Daughters of Fine Lineage
When: Thanksgiving Day, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: Municipal Services Building at 16th and JFK
How to get involved: Call 215-851-1811 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with Thanksgiving Volunteer in the subject line.
Arms of Alpha Community Service Program
What: Serve meals, distribute donated clothing and self-care products for those in need in the Philadelphia area.
Who: Omicron Delta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity & The National Baptist Church.
When: Thanksgiving Day, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Where: Columbia North YMCA, 1400 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA, (Between Master and Jefferson Sts.)
How to get involved: You can register by following the instructions here.
Helping Hand Rescue Mission: Thanksgiving “Share” Service
What: Help distribute uncooked turkeys and other food products to neighborhood families in need in the week leading up to Thanksgiving Day.
Who: Helping Hand Rescue Mission
When: The week prior to Thanksgiving
Where: 610 N. 6th Street
How to get involved: Call 215-627-1656. Coordinator named Matthew D. Gallashaw
What: Several volunteer opportunities: Help sort and pack over 30 tons of food brought in by Sunday Breakfast’s Thanksgiving Food Drive. Distribute boxes of food from Food Drive on Monday and Tuesday of Thanksgiving week, delivering boxes from warehouse, to car, to recipient (work a shift, or all day). Set up, serve food and help clean up during Sunday Breakfast’s Thanksgiving Day Banquet, which will feed over 1,000 of those in need.
Where: 302 N. 13th St. (Sunday Breakfast Philadelphia address)
When: Week of Thanksgiving, leading up to Thanksgiving Day
How to get involved: Complete Volunteer Application here.
Or, contact Kathleen Dorsey, by email at email@example.com or by phone at 1-302-656-8542, Ext. 111.
Second Pilgrim Baptist Church
What: Thanksgiving Day service
Where: 854 N. 15th St., #60
When: Thanksgiving Day, noon
How to get involved: Call Jessie Howard at 215-879-3417.
Bright Hope Baptist Church Outreach Kitchen
What: Prepare and serve a Thanksgiving meal
Where: 1601 N. 12th St.
When: Thanksgiving Day, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
How to get involved: Call 215-232-6004
Old First Reformed United Church of Christ
What: Prepare and serve a potluck, un-traditional Thanksgiving meal.
Where: 151 N. 4th St.
When: Thanksgiving Day, 5:30 p.m.
How to get involved: Email firstname.lastname@example.org, with Thanksgiving Volunteer in the subject line.
First African Baptist Church
What: Help prepare and serve Thanksgiving Day meals
Where: 1608 Christian St.
When: Saturday, November 29th, noon to 1:45 p.m.
How to get involved: Call Lillian Henderson at 215-549-7513.