Five Ways to Give Back in New York Over Thanksgiving

Take a break from arguing with your family and spread some cheer in New York this holiday season.


Food banks such as The Bowery Mission serve those in need, especially during cold winter months. (Via Facebook)

Alex Tran, Contributing Writer

While Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate with loved ones, gorge yourself on turkey and argue about politics with your estranged relatives, it’s also a time to give back to your community. Here are some ways to spread a little holiday warmth in the chilly New York City winter. 

Bowery Mission
227 Bowery

Be honest — how much of those Thanksgiving leftovers are you really going to eat? If you have leftovers from your lavish feast, donate them to a food bank. A 15-minute walk from Washington Square Park, the Bowery Mission is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. this Friday and Saturday for donation. While they suggest bringing in non-perishable goods, they also accept freshly-prepared food in untampered packaging. 

St. Joe’s Soup Kitchen
371 Sixth Ave. 

Other than food and clothing, your time and effort are the best gifts you can give this Thanksgiving. St. Joe’s Soup Kitchen helps provide nutritious meals to those in need, and you can join in their efforts by volunteering at their location on Sixth Avenue — just include your availability in an email to [email protected] (plan ahead as spots fill up quickly). If you can’t find the time to volunteer, a donation of $2 provides someone with an entire meal, which includes “a main dish, a side, salad, fruit, coffee, drink and bread with butter,” according to the St. Joe’s Soup Kitchen website. 

New York City Turkey Trot 
Pier 84 West Side

It’s a common tradition for cities to hold turkey trot races, which are not only great fundraisers but are also a way to pregame Thanksgiving dinner with some exercise. Volunteer at the NYCRUNS New York City Turkey Trot and help with directing runners and handing out fruit and water to them. As an added bonus, volunteering in this year’s race gets you $50 race credit towards the entry fee of a future race.

God’s Love We Deliver
Various Locations

Help deliver food and warmth to people who are unable to make their own meals by hopping on a van with God’s Love We Deliver. With the aim of helping people affected by HIV, cancer and other serious illnesses by providing nutritious meals, the organization is looking for volunteer drivers on Thanksgiving as well as passengers a few days afterward in SoHo. 

The Humane Society of New York
306 E. 59th St. 

If you’re looking to give some love to furry friends in need, head uptown to The Humane Society of New York to play with and clean the animals. Warning — you may end up adopting a pet or two after spending the day with these lovable creatures. 

Email Alex Tran at [email protected].