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PhiLAnthropist: Thanksgiving Volunteer Opportunities

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The 2008 Thanksgiving sunset in Silver Lake | Photo by sesshin via LAist Featured Photo pool on Flickr

It's that wonderful time of the year again. Door-busters, pant-busters, wallet-busters. We've included some ideas for some Thanksgiving volunteer opportunities. You know, so you feel less guilty after eating 14 pounds of stuffing or to prevent you from drinking all day and making things awkward at dinner. Or perhaps you want to take part out of the kindness of your heart, because you are thankful to live in the greatest place ever. This list isn't exhaustive, so leave other ideas in the comments!

HELP AT THE FRED JORDAN MISSION'S "BANQUET IN THE STREETS" ON SKID ROW
Like many of the LA's downtown missions, Fred Jordan Missions also serves up a Thanksgiving feast for individuals and families. Sign up on line or call (626) 915-1981.

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"FEED THE BEACH" IN VENICE
For all you Westsiders, lend a hand to help Venice Feed the Beach.

It's a community involved effort and The Fruit Gallery can only make this happen with your help. Feel free to volunteer or donate cooked turkeys, canned goods, desserts, beverages, serving trays, monetary donations (copies of all receipts will be made available), tables/chairs, or anything else you can add to the table. “Feed the Beach” will be held on Thursday November 26th (Thanksgiving Day) from 12-2pm at 1 Westminster Ave. in front of the Fruit Gallery by the boardwalk. Email the Fruit Gallery to sign up or call 310-452-3034 for any questions or suggestions you may have.

SERVE DINNER IN THE PARK
Every year, on Thanksgiving Day, the Union Station Homeless Services sponsors Thanksgiving Dinner-in-the-Park held in Pasadena's Central Park.

How you can help:
-Volunteer at the event (Thanksgiving Day; especially needed between 1pm and 4pm).
-Volunteer the day before the event.
-Donate prepared food; items needed (pdf).
Call 626.240.4550 x542 or email for more details; families and children welcome.

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GOBBLE GOBBLE GIVE AT THE ECHO
LAist told you about Gobble Gobble Give a few days ago, and here's another reminder. Eleven years ago, Echo Park resident Barry Waters cooked and delivered 28 meals to homeless people in his neighborhood. A few years later, Gobble Gobble Give hit 100 volunteers and delivered over 950 meals in addition to clothing and toiletries.

How you can help:
-Donate food (purchased or home cooked), clothing, toiletries, 'day-of' necessities (foil, cutting knives, sponges, etc.) or via Paypal.
-Meet at the Echo at 10am on Thanksgiving Day to put together meals.
-Start driving! Help deliver meals and clothing to homeless people all over the city "hitting vacant lots, empty fields, river bed bridges, freeway underpasses and alleys."
-Specific volunteer positions and sign-up here.

WESTSIDE THANKSGIVING
The Santa Monica Civic Auditorium hosts a massive Westside Thanksgiving Day extravaganza, offering everything from dinners, clothing and pony rides to immunizations, haircuts and medical consultations.

How you can help:
-Donate an uncooked turkey for someone else to cook
-Volunteer your oven (and yourself) to roast a turkey on Wednesday night.
-Donate and/or cook a pie.
-Donate clean clothing; donations accepted at the SM Civic Center until 9pm on Wednesday, November 26th.
-Volunteer with set up on Wednesday, November 25th (*especially needed).
-Volunteer on Thanksgiving Day (servers, greeters, hair stylists, clothing sorters, clean up crew etc.)
More details available via their Hotline at 310-394-3153 or email.

HELP OPERATION GRATITUDE SEND CARE PACKAGES TO TROOPS
While they will be closed on Thursday, Operation Gratitude is looking for volunteers to help them put together Care Packages for the troops throughout the holiday season.
Follow them on Twitter @OpGratitude or visit their website, opgratitude.com for more information.

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On a final note, don't be discouraged if an event says it's "full". Everyone likes to cook and serve, but no one really likes to clean up, so you can bet that help will be needed with clean up later in the day, when everyone else likes to be home preparing their own dinners!