Giving inspires giving. There’s so much you can give this Thanksgiving season. You can offer your time, warmth and friendship, or volunteer for a great cause. Giving a material or monetary donation this Thanksgiving is just as noble. Regardless of how much or how little, your generosity has the power to truly make a difference in the life of another person or an entire family.
It’s easy to be unmotivated and cynical during the holidays, thinking that your effort to help is negligible, but there is strength in numbers. It only takes a small gesture of kindness to create a big beginning of hope for the recipient. Perpetuating the cycle of giving feeds the soul, builds internal gratitude, and fills your community with hope.
Thanksgiving Volunteering Opportunities in Orange County
Project Hope Alliance
1954 Placentia Ave., #202, Costa Mesa
Thanksgiving Project Hope Alliance is providing families with a $50 gift card and a bag full of holiday food essentials. The gift card enables families to purchase items unique to their traditions. There are two ways to make a difference:
1. Make a donation, and PHA will use it to purchase food and $50 grocery store gift cards from Wal-Mart, Grocery Outlet, Vons, or Albertsons
2. Head to the grocery store and pick up everything on their list. Then drop the items at their office. One completed list is one family fed. A complete list of non-perishable items is available online.
PHA will help over 100 families with your donation this year. Drop gift cards, food, and bags off by November 6th.
We Give Thanks
The Honda Center
2695 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim
Salvation Army: (714)783-2334
We Give Thanks has collaborated with other organizations to provide meals and support throughout this years’ season of giving. Together with the Anaheim Salvation Army, turkeys will be distributed with all the popular “fixings” the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Reservations are required. The annual event has become a meeting point where anyone not wanting to spend this festive time of year alone can come and enjoy a great meal, entertainment and friendship. Contact the Salvation Army of Anaheim for volunteer opportunities and how to contribute to the this 35-year tradition of preparing and serving over 13,000 meals on Thanksgiving Day.
11870 Monarch St., Garden Grove
Hope For The Holidays: https://capoc.org/HOPE/
OC Food Bank has its annual Hope for The Holidays volunteer and giving opportunities posted on their website. This giving season kicks off with the Turkey Drive. It’s easy to give. Make a $20 donation to purchase a turkey for a hungry family or buy a “flock of turkeys” to feed more than one family.
More Giving opportunities
- Adopt a Family: Help provide new clothes, toys, gifts or certificates to help a family’s holiday shine a bit brighter this year.
- Sponsor a Family: Families in Orange County have been devastated by the economic effects that the recent health pandemic has caused. Your support will help get them the basic necessities such as food, clothing, shelter and transportation. Your gift will also help provide hope to families who are struggling to pay their rent and other basic needs for their families.
- Provide a Holiday Meal: You can provide a holiday meal for a family this season. A great option is to host a Virtual/ Physical Food Drive.
- Toy Drive: Many parents are finding themselves with incredibly limited funds, you can help. Donate directly or your company can host a Toy Drive. Gift cards are perfect for older children.
1550 Superior Ave., Costa Mesa
During the week of Thanksgiving, the SOS Food Pantry fills bags with Thanksgiving food items for at risk Orange County residents and families. Bags are stuffed with turkeys, chickens, and additional holiday fare. Donations for SOS Thanksgiving Food Drive are greatly appreciated and will help make the holidays a little brighter for the Orange County community in need. Canned and non-perishable food Items can be dropped off at Share Our Selves location at 1550 Superior Ave, Costa Mesa.
Turkey Trot Dana Point
34183 Pacific Coast Hwy. Suite A. Dana Point
The Dana Point Turkey Trot will celebrate its 46th year as it continues to support local non-profit organizations and charities by donating proceeds from the race. Since its inception, over a half million dollars has been raised by the Dana Point Turkey Trot.
2023 Charity partners include The Dolphin Foundation at Dana Hills High School and Pet Project Foundation.
Gobble Gobble Give
7200 Acacia Avenue, Garden Grove, CA 92841 (Moon Goat Coffee)
Gobble Gobble Give is a non-profit organization dedicated to feeding the homeless on Thanksgiving Day. All donations are 100% tax –deductible. Gobble Gobble Give delivers food, clothing, and toiletries to the homeless in eighteen cities across the country on Thanksgiving morning. They Have been doing it for 25 years, feeding more people in more cities every year. On Thanksgiving, help deliver over 30,000 meals to residents in need and across the country. The event takes place at MoonGoat Coffee, 7200 Acacia Ave., Garden Grove at 7:00 am – 12:00 pm. Meals are made possible by caring volunteers & your donations. Become a part of the team and ensure the spirit of the giving tradition this year.
OC GROW Coalition
Operation #Moving Forward Together
The Recess Room, Fountain Valley
18380 Brookhurst Street, Fountain Valley
Operation Moving Forward Together (OMFT) is a program of the Moving Forward Together Coalition that offers hot, ethnic meals to isolated seniors and vulnerable families in Orange County. Thanksgiving meals will be provided to these communities in need. Since April 2020, over 80,000 meals have been served. Operation is 100% volunteer-based and funded via grants and private donations. Many supported families are Vietnamese speaking families across the Garden Grove and Westminster area. Volunteers are needed to transport meals to homes and help with the onsite distribution.
Someone Cares Soup Kitchen
720 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa
Someone Cares Soup Kitchen has annual volunteer opportunities as well as a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner for the Orange County community. All meals are prepared to assist the homeless, unemployed, working poor families, senior citizens, the unemployed or under-employed, the mentally and physically challenged and most important, the children. The Soup Kitchen provides meals seven days per week at the facility in Orange County. Meals are served Monday through Friday from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Breakfast is provided every Saturday and Sunday morning 9:00 am-11:00 am. This is a great place to start for first-time volunteers. As a volunteer, your service may involve cooking, outside set-up, serving, and other tasks. Guests are always received with respect and kindness. The minimum age to volunteer is 15 years old.
South County Outreach
7 Whatney Suite B, Irvine
South County Outreach’s mission is to ensure no one in Orange County goes to bed hungry or without a place to call home. This food program distributes over 7,0000 pounds of emergency, non-perishable, and fresh food to more than 6,000 residents annually. Volunteers are needed to stock shelves, sort food, interact with guests and much more. Opportunities to work at the upscale thrift store are also available. South County Outreach asks for donations of turkeys or grocery store gift cards so people in need can have a heartfelt Thanksgiving together as a family.
Village of Hope
1 Hope Drive, Tustin
Nutritious food, shelter, medical services, baby needs, employment support, clothing and much more is provided every day to Orange County residents. Donating food for its traditional Thanksgiving meal at the Rescue Mission is a wonderful way to show your thankfulness. With the help of volunteers, homeless men, women, and children will enjoy a warm, family Thanksgiving. The mission also encourages individuals and families to organize a Thanksgiving food donation drive. Donations can be dropped off daily from 8am-5pm. There is also the convenience of purchasing your donations directly online making it easy to support the Mission this Thanksgiving season.
147 Rose Ave., Orange
6688 Beach Blvd., Buena Park
The Friendly Center has a great opportunity to fill a box with food items this Thanksgiving for families in need across Orange County. Friendly Center also collects Turkey Baskets containing enough food for a family to prepare a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Participate in its Turkey Drive and help Friendly Center reach its goal of providing for 600 families during these challenging times. All drop-offs are by appointment only. Sign-ups begin November 1st. Drop off date is November 20th. Each box should have enough food to feed a family of five or more. Friendly Center asks that all items be placed into a box or basket. Boxes are preferred. However, if using baskets, please wrap baskets in cellophane. Please keep gift cards and pies separate. See website for list of required food items.
Many local churches have Thanksgiving meal and food drives, potlucks, turkey give-aways and Thanksgiving dinners for children and their families, the homeless and those that are in need. Many have specific programs to help fellow parishioners who are in need. Inquire at your local church (or any church) on how you can volunteer or donate.
Organize a Food Drive
Food drives are a great way to involve your friends and family by collecting food and/or monetary donations for a community-based organization with a Thanksgiving program. HomeAid Orange County collects donations at the Honda Center each year. Here are a few simple steps to organizing your own food and donation drive for your office, church, neighbors, etc.
- Choose a local group to support
- Make a plan
- Recruit volunteers to assist
- Set a goal
- Promote your food drive
- Set up the collection site
- Deliver the donations
- Thank your donors
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Cindy is an OC native fond of PCH road trips to places like Santa Rosa or Carmel. She’s a mother of three spending her free time baking apple pies, cooking green enchiladas, and listening to 80s music. She’s a beach girl at heart and Cancun is her go to paradise.