Updated for 2020
It’s that time of year when the holidays are upon us and we tend to focus more on what’s truly important in our lives – spending quality time with our family and friends. Halloween is over and Christmas is right around the corner. However, in the meantime, there’s this little unsung holiday known as “Thanksgiving” that also deserves a shout out and little more than a passer-by.
Volunteer Thanksgiving Events in Southern California
Since Thanksgiving is a few short weeks away, it means it’s time for our 8th Annual Southern California Thanksgiving Events Roundup. Throughout the month of November, there are many holiday inspired events that emphasize the importance of gratitude and thankfulness. Take a look through our list of upcoming events across the southland and enjoy the season with your family!
Thanksgiving Volunteer Opportunities in Los Angeles
72nd Annual Pilgrim Place Festival, Claremont – VIRTUAL
Pilgrim Place is a non-profit retirement community in Claremont and home to more than 350 people who have dedicated their lives to improving the lives of others. The Annual Pilgrim Place Festival normally offers two days of shopping, fun, children’s games and food. You will find vintage clothing, precious and costume jewelry, baked goods, plants, crafting, household items and more. Handcrafted items include quilts, stained glass, knitted, sewn, woven and paper-made goods. Shoppers may meet artists and purchase paintings, sculpture and everyday items directly from the artists. Attractions include riding the Festival boat and train. Kids can learn how to reduce, reuse and recycle everyday items at their sustainability and “glue-in” booths.
This year the annual festival has gone virtual and you can purchase artist creations online all month long!
Big Sunday’s 10th Annual Thanksgiving Stuffing Event, Los Angeles (11/22) – IN PERSON & VIRTUAL
At Big Sunday, they operate under the belief that “everyone has some way that they can help somebody else.” Each year they collect and pack big bags full of Thanksgiving dinner for thousands of people, including vets; homeless families; women in domestic violence shelters; group homes; low-income families with autistic children; food pantries; schools and more. They need people to donate food, as well as to pack everything up.
Big Sunday’s Annual Thanksgiving Stuffing Event is happening online this year, on Sunday, November 22nd from 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm. You can watch and cheer them along from home!
Then on Nov. 23 – 25, Big Sunday will need help putting the finishing touches on the bags as well as distributing them. Financial donations are also greatly appreciated.
Los Angeles Mission, Los Angeles (11/26) – IN PERSON & DONATIONS ACCEPTED
Volunteers are the heartbeat of the Los Angeles Mission. Sign up to volunteer and serve Thanksgiving meals to those who would otherwise go without. An orientation is required to volunteer for any opportunity at the Los Angeles Mission, including their street events. Volunteers must be at least 13 years of age. If you are not able to attend in person, donations may be made online.
Thanksgiving Day Run & Food Drive, La Canada Flintridge (11/26) – VIRTUAL
The Thanksgiving Day 5K Run/Walk has been a local tradition and a community favorite with families, athletes, and community supporters of all types for two decades. The race is professionally timed and normally meets at Memorial Park in La Cañada. The Kids’ Mile Run is a family fun event geared for children 12 and under. Parents are encouraged to run alongside registered children at no additional cost. Kids will receive a t-shirt before the race and an award as they cross the finish line.
The Community Centers Thanksgiving Day Food Drive is the largest Food Drive in the Foothill communities. Canned and non-perishable food is collected during the month of November at locations in La Cañada, La Crescenta and Montrose. Non-perishable donations are distributed by the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station to local families in need. In 2017, the food collected served over 160 families.
*Because this year is a virtual event and we will not be meeting in the park, you can do the race when it’s convenient for you on a course that you choose!
Gobble Gobble Give, Los Angeles (11/28) – IN PERSON
Gobble Gobble Give delivers food, clothing and toiletries to the homeless in eighteen cities across the country on Thanksgiving morning. We’ve been doing it for 22 years, feeding more people in more cities every year.
On Nov. 28, help deliver over 30,000 meals to LA residents in need and across the country. The LA event takes place at the iconic Regent Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles, beginning at 8:00 am.
Turkey Trot Los Angeles, Downtown LA (11/26) – VIRTUAL
Join thousands of runners and walkers for the annual Turkey Trot Los Angeles on Thanksgiving morning. They have a Widdle Wobble, a half-mile kids and family run/walk.
In the spirit of Thanksgiving, this event supports The Midnight Mission – an amazing 4 Star Charity that offers a path to self sufficiency for those experiencing homelessness. Donate or create a fundraising team during registration and help us reach our goal of raising $50,000, which equals over 33,000 meals.
*This year, the Turkey Trot Los Angeles has stepped up its game and has gone virtual!
Burbank YMCA Turkey Trot, Burbank (11/26) – VIRTUAL
Run, walk, or push a stroller through Downtown Burbank and participate in the Burbank YMCA Turkey Trot. 100% of the proceeds support the YMCA Financial Assistance Program benefitting community residents. Enjoy pre-race expo as well as a Kids Fun Zone.
*Due to the County of Los Angeles Health Department guidelines and protocols, we will be hosting this year’s Turkey Trot as a Virtual Race to ensure the safety and well-being of all our participants, staff, and community.
The Midnight Mission, Los Angeles (11/26) – IN-PERSON & DONATIONS ACCEPTED
Sign up to donate to give Thanksgiving meals to those who will come by for a Thanksgiving meal at The Midnight Mission. The Midnight Mission offers a path to self-sufficiency to men, women and children who have lost everything. Their emergency services, 12-step philosophy, job training, education and work programs offer a compassionate bridge to productive lives. They help remove obstacles to self-sufficiency and provide the accountability and structure that people who are experiencing homelessness need to rejoin their communities.
*If you are not able to volunteer this year, please consider making a donation instead.
Westside Thanksgiving Community Dinner & Celebration, Los Angeles (11/26) – DONATIONS ACCEPTED
This non-profit organization has over three decades of tradition serving the community a wonderful free sit-down Thanksgiving dinner. During the celebration, they also provide free haircuts, blankets, clothing, hygiene kits, medical, optical, and dental services, vaccination, a resource fair, and a children’s carnival. The Celebration relies entirely on donations from the local community. Families can get involved by volunteering, donating food and/or clothing or making a financial donation.
*While we can’t gather and cook and eat and celebrate this year, we can still be grateful and share our blessings with our neighbors. We’ll be gathering gift cards and blankets to distribute to needy people in the community. We need your help! The easy safe way to help is by donating on line. Your donation will be used for gift cards this year.