Volunteer for Thanksgiving 2018 in the Washington DC Area

Where to Help the Needy During the Holiday Season

Female volunteers enjoy working together at community food drive
Steve Debenport / Getty Images

Thanksgiving is a great time to volunteer and reach out and help the homeless and the hungry. The Washington, DC area has lots of charitable organizations that need volunteers to prepare, serve and cleanup holiday meals for the poor. You can also make a donation or participate in fundraising events. If you’d like to help, here are some organizations to contact.

SOME (So Others May Eat) - The organization hosts holiday gatherings for program participants and volunteers assist with preparing and serving meals, games, and decorations.

Thanksgiving dinner baskets are assembled to feed struggling families. Volunteers can also host food drives during the holidays and throughout the year. On Thanksgiving Day, SOME holds its annual Trot for Hunger beginning at 8:30 a.m. at West Potomac Park in Washington, DC. The 5K fun run and family walk benefits programs for homeless women, children, and men.

Food and Friends - This organization provides meals to support men, women, and children living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other life-challenging illnesses.

Volunteers assemble and deliver Thanksgiving meals. In November, Food and Friends sponsor Slice of Life, a program that sells thousands of pies for Thanksgiving to collect funds that support thousands of local residents battling life-challenging illnesses.

Capital Area Food Bank - This is the largest, public nonprofit hunger and nutrition education resource in the region. Make a monetary donation or help the Brown Bag program deliver Thanksgiving food baskets to needy senior citizens. The Capital Area Food Bank teams up with WHUR-FM – Howard University Radio at Food2Feed to help feed those struggling with hunger in the DC region for Thanksgiving.

A day-long broadcast from Woodrow Wilson Plaza at the Ronald Reagan Building promotes the event.

Bread For the City - Holiday Helpings is a food drive, cash drive, and telethon to provide Thanksgiving meals to low-income families. Volunteers collect canned food and cash donations and load and unload trucks of food. The organization provides comprehensive services for the needy, including food, clothing, medical care, and legal and social services.

Salvation Army - Donate money or host your own personalized Red Kettle to gather donations from others.

The international Christian organization strives to improve the lives of the needy and provide a holiday meal. The Feast of Sharing is a FREE Thanksgiving Dinner held at the Washington Convention Center for nearly 5,000 community members. Volunteers are needed to prepare and serve food and clean-up after the meal.

Washington DC Jewish Community Center - Volunteers prepare the Thanksgiving meal for people in need in the Washington DC metropolitan area. Bring family and friends to make stuffing, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, desserts and more.

The DC JCC partners with DC Central Kitchen to prepare the meal.

Turkey Trots in the Washington, DC Area - A variety of organizations sponsor turkey trots, runs and walks to raise money for the needy. Participate on your own or organize a group and get some great exercise at the start of the holiday season. Find an event in DC, Maryland or Northern Virginia.

Local Volunteer Centers

These agencies coordinate volunteer programs throughout the year in each city or county around the region