Volunteer Opportunities Available on Thanksgiving Day

Adriana Orellana

The Thanksgiving Day holiday is a wonderful time to volunteer at local centers and help the less fortunate by serving a warm meal.

Various centers around the Glendale, Pasadena, San Fernando Valley, and Los Angeles areas will be serving Thanksgiving Day dinners to the homeless and anyone else who needs a dinner for the holiday. The majority of these centers are dependent on volunteers to get their food programs up and running, due mainly to the high volume of people who show up requesting meals.

The Union Station Homeless Services (USHS) in Pasadena has hosted annual Dinners-in-the-Park for more than 30 years, and has provided warm meals on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day to thousands of people, including the homeless, senior citizens, people who live alone, and people who cannot afford a holiday meal.

The food serving positions are currently full, but volunteers are still needed for client encouragement projects, community advocacy groups, and clean up and tear down. A large number of volunteers are requested for clean-up assistance. Volunteers are needed today for the Day Before Volunteers event preparation from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and for food preparation from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to midnight. Volunteers are needed for Friday’s Day After Volunteers to help with the clean-up from 8 a.m. to noon.

Dinner-in-the-Park is held at Pasadena’s Central Park at 275 S. Raymond Ave. Meals will be served from noon to 2 p.m. For those who cannot volunteer, Union Station asks for donations of large cans of vegetables to be delivered to the Adult Center Kitchen, located at 412 S. Raymond Ave. in Pasadena.

“Another way that students can get involved in by joining our Pledge-A-Thon,” said Ali Reynolds, a spokesperson for the organization. “We have a page at www.firstgiving.com/unionstation where people can set up their own donation page linked to ours and send it via Twitter, e-mail, and Facebook to their social networks to get people involved with donating towards costs of Dinner-in-the-Park. Students could participate in helping us this way. The person who raises the most money by Dec. 31 will win an iPad.”

Dinner-in-the-Park is open to anyone who is in need and who would like to have a warm meal on Thanksgiving Day. There is no registration needed to eat or to become a part of the event.

Visit http://www.unionstationhs.org/dinners_in_the_park.html for more information on the various times and volunteer opportunities.

Many Salvation Army centers will be giving out free meals throughout Thanksgiving Day. The Salvation Army San Fernando Valley Corps is located at 14917 Victory Blvd. in Van Nuys, and will have their annual Thanksgiving Community Dinner today at 1 p.m. All community members are invited to enjoy a traditional meal, and are welcome to stay for a free concert afterward.

The Salvation Army Glendale Corps and Community Center will provide the free Thanksgiving Day meals from noon to 2 p.m. on Friday at its venue which is located on 320 W. Windsor Road in Glendale. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Those interested in volunteering at The Salvation Army locations are requested to sign up online. They will then be contacted by a volunteer coordinator. They can also visit their local Salvation Army centers for more information.

The Laugh Factory will host its 31st Annual Thanksgiving Feast Thursday, with comedians helping and serving guests. Meals will be served at 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m., and 7 p.m., and a live comedy show will follow each service. The free event will serve the underprivileged, anyone alone for the holiday, and the homeless, with free food, fun, and comedy.

The 12th Annual Gobble Gobble Give will help the homeless with warm Thanksgiving meals and clothing. The event, which starts Thursday at 10 a.m., needs volunteers to prepare and pack the meals, and volunteer delivery drivers to hand out meals and clothing to homeless people in vacant lots, alleys, empty fields, river bed bridges, and freeway underpasses throughout the city. Anyone who wishes to volunteer is requested to sign up at www.gobblegobblegive.org and must meet at 10 a.m. at The Echo Night Club, located at 1822 Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles.

For those who would rather save a turkey than eat one, The Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt-A-Turkey Project encourages people to become sponsors and for $30 save a turkey’s life. Anyone can sponsor a turkey that lives in a shelter in California or New York. With the sponsorship, a turkey will be cared for and the sponsor will receive an Adopt-A-Turkey certificate, a color picture, and more details on the turkey adopted. For more information visit: www.adoptaturkey.org.

For other volunteer opportunities visit volunteermatch.org or laworks.com.