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How to give back for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy delicious food with family and friends; however, many people don’t have that luxury. Some are homeless or sick or simply have no place to go. If you want to make a difference this holiday season, but don’t know how you can give back in a meaningful way, check out these ideas for spreading cheer and lending a helping hand:

1. Visit patients in a hospital or nursing home. Being in a hospital or assisted-living facility can be painful and lonely, especially on Thanksgiving. Spend some time visiting those who can’t be home for the holiday. A simple conversation might mean more to them than you think.

2. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Spend your holiday serving food to those less fortunate at a soup kitchen. Many shelters and kitchens need assistance to serve the big crowds on Thanksgiving.

3. Extend an invitation to someone with nowhere to go on Thanksgiving. Do you know anyone who will be away from their family on Thanksgiving? Or someone who has recently lost a close family member or friend? Invite them to your holiday meal so they don’t have to spend the day alone.

4. Donate blood. The American Red Cross estimates that someone in the U.S. needs blood every two seconds. What better way to give back than by donating blood? You never know who you might be helping.

5. Perform a random act of kindness. Doing something nice for a stranger can have a huge impact on their life. Whether it’s leaving an extra large tip at a restaurant or letting someone go ahead of you in the line at the grocery, these small acts of kindness can help turn someone’s day around.