As we enter the holiday season, there's a feeling in the air that inspires people to give back to their communities. Whether it's gifts, time, or service, now is the perfect time to come together to help those who really need it. There are plenty of opportunities to do so in Austin and the surrounding areas like Round Rock, Cedar Park, and Pflugerville - check out the list of volunteer events and opportunities below, and make sure to check your local food banks as well for Thanksgiving meal sorting and preparation. A simple donation can completely change someone's holiday!
Hands for Hope - From now until November 17, El Buen Samaritano is accepting donations and volunteers for their annual Hands for Hope Event. Each year, community volunteers provide more than 1,000 low-income families with care packages - these packages include turkey, vegetables, and all the other fixings they need to prepare their very own delicious Thanksgiving feast. A donation of $20 provides a family with an entire meal, and you can also form a team on Crowdrise to raise even more money for the organization here.
Austin Empty Bowl Project - The Sunday before Thanksgiving, November 18th, the Central Texas Food Bank is hosting this fun annual event. For a $25 donation, you can choose a locally crafted ceramic bowl and have it filled with soup and bread to eat while enjoying local live music. Volunteers can register here to help serve food and clean up after the event is over, and you can contribute an additional donation here.
H-E-B Feast of Sharing - This event is celebrating its 29th anniversary on November 20th at the Palmer Events Center. The largest community Thanksgiving meal in Austin, volunteers provide over 14,000 people with a meal they might not otherwise have been able to enjoy each year. The event also hosts arts and crafts, music, and activities for children. Click here to sign up to volunteer, and check H-E-B's event page here for other times and locations that this event is held.
Operation Turkey - In various locations throughout Austin, Cedar Park, and Round Rock, Operation Turkey invites volunteers to help prepare, package, and deliver food to those less fortunate on Thanksgiving day. Events are also held in the days beforehand, including volunteer orientations and a large Turkey Tailgate, where volunteers are celebrated and food is staged and prepared for the next day. Donations of clothing, care packages, and drinks are also accepted to distribute with the care packages. For information on locations and times, please check here. Volunteers can sign up on this page, and monetary donations can be contributed on their donation page here.
Meals on Wheels - On Thanksgiving day, volunteers can sign up to drive around and deliver warm meals for the disabled and elderly who may not be able to prepare meals for themselves. Deliveries typically take place between 11 am and 1 pm, and locations vary throughout Austin, Pflugerville, and Round Rock depending on sign-ups and distribution center needs. Check here for volunteer information and to sign up.