Sitting around the table on Thanksgiving Day reflecting on all that is good in your life and being thankful is a great way to spend the holiday. So is thinking about all the ways you can give back to your community. Donating your time is one way to give back and make a positive impact at the same time. But it’s not the only way. If you’re short on time due to job and family responsibilities there are other ways to contribute to your community.
If you’re looking for a way to give back we’ve discovered some great opportunities and organizations in and around the area to help you find the ideal fit. And not all of them require huge time commitments. Even the simplest gesture can put more pep in anyone’s step and a smile on their face. As you ponder ways to give back to your community this Thanksgiving consider these:
Volunteer for your local school district
An educator in today’s classroom will be more than happy to have an extra pair of hands. And you don’t have to be a parent to volunteer. Tutoring or listening to elementary students read is a great place to start and get your feet wet. However, the classroom isn’t the only place help is needed. Additional opportunities are plentiful such as organizing a school fundraiser, monitoring outdoor activities or sitting on the school’s board to name a few. At Leander ISD there are also booster clubs, PTAs, and mentorship programs that rely on community members to help foster education and bring the community together.
Run a race for charity
The good news here is that you don’t even have to run. If you can walk or trot you can participate. Many local runs are family-friendly and their sole purpose for holding them is to raise money for a good cause. Case in point is the ThunderCloud Subs Thanksgiving Turkey Trot in Austin. This philanthropic effort now 29 years in the making is one of the largest holiday runs in the state. All proceeds from the race benefit Caritas of Austin, a non-profit that works to prevent and end homelessness in the Austin community. The 5-mile race also has other options including a 1 miler and a Kids K.
Donate food and clothing to a local food bank
The city of Leander has two working food pantries. They are the Brighter Days Food Pantry and Hill Country Community Ministries. Brighter Days accepts donations of canned goods, grocery items and personal care items. In addition they also maintain a Clothes Closet stocked with new and gently used clothes, shoes and jackets for men, women and children. Donations for both are accepted Monday-Friday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Leander Church of Christ. Hill Country Community Ministries operates both a food pantry and thrift store. Donations can be dropped off at 1005 Lacy Drive, Leander. Check their website for the hours of operation. Volunteer opportunities are also available.
Make it a beautiful day in the neighborhood
Introduce yourself to your neighbors and make it known that they can count on you for help. Whether you watch their dog for an hour, help them lift a heavy piece of furniture, or help an elderly neighbor with yard work it most certainly will be appreciated.
Eat soup for a good cause
Select a handcrafted artisan ceramic soup bowl, choose from a variety of gourmet soups and fresh-baked breads, and listen to local music during the 23rd annual Austin Empty Bowl Project to fight hunger. Spearheaded by local potters this family-friendly event takes place on Sunday, November 24 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Central Texas Food Bank. All year long local artists have been busy crafting over 5,000 soup bowls to support the event. Your personally selected soup bowl is yours to take home. We’re certain there’s one with your name on it. Tickets are $25. All proceeds benefit the Kids Café, a Central Texas Food Bank program and Meals for Kids, a program of Meals on Wheels.
Participate in #Giving Tuesday
There’s no limit to what you can do to participate in this global day of giving that takes place every year on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. This year’s #Giving Tuesday is on December 3. This designated day to give back has spread worldwide to over 150 countries and raised over $300 million for nonprofits last year alone. Whether you choose to make a donation to an Austin area nonprofit, or do a good deed you’ll have the satisfaction knowing that you are a part of something much bigger.
Foster a pet from the animal shelter
Texas Humane Heroes is continually seeking cape crusaders that love to swoop in and save animals. Based in Leander this private, nonprofit animal rescue shelter was established in 1979 to support communities throughout the state of Texas. Their work extends beyond our state’s borders. They also assist those communities outside of Texas with natural disaster relocation efforts. If you love animals then they need you. There are numerous ways to get involved such as making a donation, volunteering or fostering. Pet adoptions and public low cost affordable clinic services are also available.
Donate a toy to Operation Blue Santa
As one of the area’s largest holiday fundraisers the Austin Police Department’s Operation Blue Santa’s primary mission is to give families in need a happy holiday. What began as a holiday only fundraiser is now a year-round operation that provides gifts, toys and food to over 6,000 families. Celebrate the magic of the season by donating a new unwrapped toy during the annual Chuy’s Children Giving to Children Parade. It takes place this year on Saturday, November 30. During the hour-long parade Austin’s men and women in blue and their elves will be on hand to collect toys from girls and boys to support the program. Fun for the entire family including marching bands, giant character balloons, local organizations and Santa too.
Make a $1 donation and get a free Whataburger
One of Central Texas’ favorite burger joints invites you to help them support Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas this holiday season. Now in progress the Whataburger Whata-Miracle Maker Holiday Fundraiser is asking customers for a $1 minimum donation. In return receive a free Whataburger with the purchase of a medium fry and 32 oz. drink. The fundraiser runs through December 9. You have until Dec. 31, 2019 to redeem your coupon.
Visit Travisso Today
Explore Travisso today and discover world-class amenities in a natural Hill Country setting. Gorgeous views, new model homes, and a family-friendly neighborhood wait. While here check out our endless recreational possibilities for the entire family. And see why so many Austin area home seekers are choosing to call Travisso home.