We’re fortunate to live in a progressive, multicultural, free-lovin’ town where seemingly anything is possible, like snow 15 miles from the beach
and a glass slide 1,000 feet in the air
. So it’s a sad conundrum that upwards of 82,000 people in LA county don’t even have roofs over their heads on any given night.
Thankfully, Thanksgiving is just around the corner—a time to hit pause on our emails, Snaps, sorrel pesto bowls and the Kardashians. Before you let your inner glutton loose on the turkey and stuffing, put in a few hours to spread the Thanksgiving warm ‘n fuzzies to some of our fellow Angelenos who happen to be down on their luck. There are bottomless ways to lend a hand this holiday, both in person or from your couch. And after you do, go ahead and stuff yourself stupid with a happy conscience.
Get your Turkey Trot On
Work off that pumpkin pie before
you’ve even eaten it by
running the 5k or 10k Turkey Trot through historic DTLA on Thanksgiving morning. There’s even a 1k Widdle Wobble for the kiddies. Not only will you be able to justify the food coma you’ll eat yourself into later that evening, but you’ll also be running for a good cause. The entry fee benefits LA’s Midnight Mission
, which offers the homeless a path to self-sufficiency with their 12-step philosophy, job training, education and work programs.
Thursday, November 24th; Race begins at Los Angeles City Hall
; 5k begins at 8 a.m., 10k at 8:30 a.m., Widdle Wobble at 10 a.m.; Entry fees from $20-$65, More info HERE
Get Stuffing with Big Sunday
Before you stuff yourself with food, why not stuff bags with holiday food for thousands of LA’s hungry? The day before Thanksgiving, Big Sunday promises to get packing in a party atmosphere, which includes live music and breakfast. If you can’t make it, you can donate a bag instead, which will include all the items needed to make a delicious dinner: A gift card for a turkey, a fresh baked pie and fresh produce.
Wednesday, 23rd November; 9 a.m. - noon; Big Sunday
; More info HERE
Give the Gift of Dessert with Salt & Straw
Our friends over at Salt & Straw have found a way to lift your Thanksgiving day dessert guilt with their “
Buy a Pint, Give a Pint” program. For every pint of their Thanksgiving Celebration Series purchased, they’ll donate another to the Los Angeles Food Bank
to give families in need a taste of why they rule LA’s ice cream scene. This is Salt & Straw, so we’re talking flavors like Sweet Potato Casserole with Maple Pecans, Buttered Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, California Acorn and Chestnut Stuffing, Salted Caramel Thanksgiving Turkey, and Spiced Goat Cheese & Pumpkin Pie!
Deets: Thanksgiving f
lavors will be available at Salt & Straw’s Larchmont Village
, Abbot Kinney
, Studio City
, and brand new Arts District
locations through November 23. More info HERE
Sweet Potato Casserole. Image courtesy of Salt & Straw
APLA’s Turkey Trot
If fun runs aren’t your thing or you’re going to be at Aunt Wendy’s in Virginia on Thanksgiving, here’s an alternative so you can still do some good on Turkey Day. Team to End AIDS (T2), an endurance training program that benefits APLA Health (AIDS Project Los Angeles) is hosting a virtual turkey trot instead. Pay a $25 entry fee and run your own race wherever you find yourself on Thursday morning. Your entry fee will allow APLA's Necessities of Life Program (NOLP) to feed hungry people who want to enjoy a hearty Thanksgiving meal.
Image courtesy of T2
A Westside Feast for All
Westside Thanksgiving is a very hands on volunteer event that has been serving up free Thanksgiving dinners to the westside community for over three decades. The organization also provides free haircuts, blankets, clothing, hygiene kits, tons of medical services and more. Westside Thanksgiving encourages the homeless, low-income families, veterans, students, the elderly or anyone far from their own family to come sit at the table. This is an awesomely large event that can certainly use any help they can get. They’re also looking for hairdressers and cooks!
Set-up on Wednesday, 23rd November or event on Thursday, 24th November; VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare Campus
; Volunteer info HERE
or donate online HERE
La Brea Bakery Cafe is giving away a fully catered Thanksgiving dinner to 10 special heroes. They just need you to tell them who deserves it! And to prove that giving is the best payment of all, they’ll even give you a free loaf of bread just for nominating. Head over to the website and nominate that special local hero in your life. But hurry up! Nominations close at 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Nominations close Sunday, November 20 and will be announced within the next day. Head HERE
to nominate your hero. They may reside anywhere in the US (except Hawaii and Alaska).
Give Thanks to Planned Parenthood
Now more than ever is the time to support Planned Parenthood and let them know you’re grateful for everything they do. Like providing the low income, uninsured and underserved women of Los Angeles (and the rest of the US) with free, life-saving breast and cervical cancer screenings. Donate in your own name or perhaps pick your favorite anti-Planned Parenthood government rep so the thank you certificate will head to their office.
to Planned Parenthood
Los Angeles or to the main organization.
Sponsor a Homeless LAUSD Student
Did you know that there are currently 13,606 homeless students in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD)? Right now, the LAUSD Homeless Education Program needs help to sponsor homeless students and their families for the holiday season. They’ll provide you with a wish list for your assigned family that is feasible and affordable and will include things like an clothe, toys, household items, grocery gift cards and holiday meals. Here’s an idea: Wrangle your office together and make a joint contribution to the kids of LA this holiday season.
For more info and to register visit their website HERE
. We’ve been assured that the registration deadline is irrelevant so pay no attention if you see one lurking.
Triple the Feast with Meals on Wheels
In honor of your own grandparents, here’s your chance to ensure that an elderly or disabled Angeleno gets a beautiful feast on Thanksgiving. With St. Vincent Meals on Wheels Thanksgiving Meal Triple Match, an anonymous and very generous supporter has agreed to triple every dollar that you donate this year. So your $15.70 donation becomes $47.10 worth of holiday dinners and now feeds six people!
Head to St. Vincent's webstie HERE
to donate or why not consider volunteering a lunch hour each week to help deliver meals beyond Thanksgiving?
2016 Tofurky Trot for Animal Rescue
This one’s for the vegans and animal lovers out there. You don’t need to eat turkey to partake in the joy of Thanksgiving. Held at the Rose Bowl, the Tofurky Trot supports local animal rescue groups while championing plant-based diets. The race is five kilometers and can be sprinted, pranced, trotted or walked. There will also be prizes for canine competitors and vegan snacks and drinks awaiting you at the finish line. Plus, don’t miss out on the bunnies and pups for adoption—all proceeds will support the Jackson Galaxy Foundation (Animal Planet’s Jackson will even be hosting), Bunny World Foundation and the Animal Museum.
Thursday, November 24; Race begins at 9 a.m. at the Rose Bowl Stadium
; $35-$45 (Adults), $15-$20 (Kids over 6 years); Sign-up HERE
While we bask in the comfort of our nearest and dearest (or ... try to find a quick exit) let’s not forget new Angelenos who would do anything to be with their families. Interfaith Refugee and Immigration Service (IRIS) is a refugee resettlement agency in LA that provides resettlement assistance, employment placement and legal aid to the newly relocated. They need ongoing help with English mentoring, food pantry stocking, transporting people to healthcare appointments, getting children enrolled in school and they’re always taking donations. Because we’re ultimately all one big family living on a very tiny planet hurtling through the deep, dark unknown together.
; Donate to IRIS HERE
or sign up to volunteer HERE.
Image courtesy of IRIS
One Last Quick and Easy Feel Good Fix
Running to catch a flight out of town? Or perhaps you’re struggling to pay your own rent. Here’s one last quick and affordable way to give back in LA. A donation to the Los Angeles Mission will take less than three minutes, costs as little as $2.03 and will provide a hot Thanksgiving meal to hungry Angelenos. Funds will also help provide safe shelters and life changing programs.
to make your donation; Read more about the Los Angeles Mission HERE
Belinda Gosbee is an Aussie writer, actress and coffee snob based in Los Angeles. Follow her jaunts on twitter @belindagosbee or instagram @gos22
Header image courtesy of Big Sunday