Five ways to make volunteering part of your Thanksgiving tradition

By Christina Campodonico

Thanksgiving is a time to fill your belly, but it’s also a time to fill your soul. From preparing and serving free turkey dinners to delivering some holiday cheer, here are five ways you can give back while giving thanks.


Thanksgiving Dinner and Clothing Boutique @ St. Monica Catholic Community Auditorium

Join the St. Monica community from 3 to 6 p.m. Wednesday as they host a free Thanksgiving Eve dinner and a pop-up boutique offering free clothing, blankets, sleeping bags and toiletries for those in need. St. Monica’s needs about 700 volunteers to pull this thing off, but you have to sign up in-person in order to volunteer. Contact Delis Alejandro at (310) 566-1530 or for details. 725 California Ave., Santa Monica.


Westside Thanksgiving @ West L.A. Civic Center

This L.A. Thanksgiving tradition serves up a traditional turkey dinner, starting at 11 a.m., to anyone in need — from the homeless to seniors, students and low-income families. Call (310) 394-3153 to sign up for a two-hour shift at 6 a.m., 8 a.m., 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 4 p.m. Thursday. 1645 Corinth Ave., West L.A.


One Incredible Family @ Westchester Masonic Lodge

Help the nonprofit One Incredible Family prepare, deliver and serve Thanksgiving meals for the homeless and make cheerful banners celebrating the Thanksgiving season during this all-day volunteer event from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday. A continental breakfast kicks off this uplifting day of public service. 7726 W. Manchester Ave., Playa del Rey. $5 donation covers breakfast.

Feed The Need @ Bellissimo Venice

Last year Bellissimo Venice gave away more than 3,000 sandwiches, hundreds of cups of coffee and dozens of pastries on Thanksgiving Day. Help them top that record this year by handing out free coffee, pastries and turkey sandwiches from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday. Call (818) 923-8112 or email s.feld.sf@gmail to volunteer, or make a donation at 68 N. Venice Blvd., Venice.


Thanksgiving Boxes of Love @ Upward Bound House

Prepare a “Box of Love” for a family in need with Upward Bound House. Boxes should include non-perishable fixings for a Thanksgiving meal, such as canned cranberries and yams, boxed mash potatoes and stuffing, bottles of juice or apple cider, chicken broth, a frozen turkey or grocery store gift card. Seal it off with a “Happy Thanksgiving” card to the box’s recipient. Call (310) 458-7779 to learn how to prepare a box. 1104 Washington Ave., Santa Monica.