8 Ways to Add Giving to Your Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has always been a time of reflection and gratitude with our loved ones. This year, that celebration will likely look different, with the context of public health guidelines and social distancing looming in the background. As we give thanks for what we have this year, we at the St. Louis Community Foundation (STLCF) urge you to find ways to give back. Amidst physical distance, we can stay connected through acts of service to our neighbors and our communities.

You can make giving a new tradition for your family with these helpful tips:

  1. Partake in a virtual volunteering opportunity
    Throughout this pandemic, our friends at the United Way of Greater St. Louis have compiled a list of virtual volunteer opportunities that will allow you to give back in the comfort and safety of your own home. From building craft kits and personal hygiene kits for at-risk youth to helping write grants for community nonprofits, going online has opened the doors to new ways of serving our community at a time of great need. Click here to view these opportunities.
  2. Write a letter thanking our troops and essential workers
    While many Americans have shifted towards working from home, front-line essential workers and American troops continue to protect our safety and keep our society running during this pandemic. You can write a letter of gratitude during this year’s Thanksgiving for our troops who will not be home to celebrate with their loved ones through Operation Gratitude, or for an essential worker who has been battling COVID-19 in the frontlines through 826 Digital. You can also sponsor a phone call to loved ones for someone serving here. These little gestures can make the holiday season so much brighter for those who are keeping us safe.
  3. Call an older adult
    One of the groups hardest hit by COVID-19 both mentally and physically has been older adults in America. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported that eight in ten deaths from COVID-19 in the United States has been for a person above the age of 65, with older adults above 80 experiencing a mortality rate of over eight percent. Consequently, this has made older adults one of the loneliest demographics in America.Giving a quick call to a loved one or an older adult in a nursing home from your community can make all the difference, at a time when many are barred from going to nursing homes and assisted care facilities in-person. You can also get connected to programs across the nation that can pair you with older adults, which you can read more about here.
  4. Volunteer on Thanksgiving Day
    Thanksgiving has historically been one of the busiest days for food pantries, homeless shelters, and soup kitchens. This year, with skyrocketing unemployment and an economic downturn, food banks and homeless shelters are stretched thin and operating beyond capacity. Volunteering in-person would offer desperately needed help at a time of dire need.Volunteer at Loaves of Fishes’ annual Turkey Time STL Thanksgiving Food Drive or check Operation Food Search’s Volunteer Hub for current volunteer opportunities. If you decide to volunteer, make sure to review St. Louis public health guidelines and contact the facility you want to volunteer at prior to arriving.
  5. Donate your extra food to a local food pantry
    With high levels of food insecurity, your Thanksgiving leftovers can go a long way. After the festivities are over, you can bring extra food to a local soup kitchen or food pantry to support our community. You can find a local food pantry through the St. Louis Area Foodbank here.
  6. Tutor a student online
    COVID-19 has forced many schools to switch to a hybrid model this year, or close altogether. As a result, many students are unable to learn as effectively as they could before. To help out, you can volunteer with the St. Louis County Library or groups like the Learning Lodge to teach students during the pandemic for free. Sessions are fully virtual, allowing you to teach from the safety of your home while also providing a meaningful impact on young people’s education.
  7. Donate to a #GivingTuesday campaign
    Every year, beginning the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, nonprofits and other charitable organizations begin their #GivingTuesday campaigns to help raise money for a good cause during the holiday season. This year, more than ever, nonprofits need funding and support to meet an increase in demand for educational, food, healthcare, housing, and other needs: your donation can make a huge impact. Find out more about how you can participate in #GivingTuesday here.
  8. Create a fund with the St. Louis Community Foundation
    At STLCF, we pride ourselves on the impact our donors have in our city. We serve as your giving partner – right in your own community – that supports you, your causes, and your region. Through various funds, STLCF simplifies giving and provides significant potential tax advantages, helping you give more to the causes that you care deeply about. Call us at (314)-588-8200 or email info@stlgives.org to learn more about setting up a fund with us.

From all of us at the St. Louis Community Foundation, we hope you have a healthy, safe, and happy Thanksgiving!