Consider Ways to Give Back This Year as Thanksgiving Kicks Off the Holiday Season

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and many families are looking forward to reuniting this year to gather around the table for turkey and all the trimmings.

Especially after the cancellation of in-person events and holiday gatherings in 2020, this year’s holiday is highly anticipated, right down to the football games and long naps too. 

Many people are also looking forward this week to the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which begins at 9AM EST on Thursday. After last year’s limit on spectators, the holiday parade is returning in full force with iconic larger-than-life balloons and decorated floats that will trek 2.5 miles down West 77th Street and Central Park West.

“For more than 9 decades, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has served to bring joy to millions, who gather with friends and family to experience this one-of-a-kind holiday celebration along the streets of New York City and in homes nationwide,” Will Coss, executive producer of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. “For our 95th celebration, Macy’s has created a spectacle to remember featuring a dazzling array of high-flying balloons, animated floats, and incredible performers.”

Consumers are especially eager for Black Friday sales this week as supply chain complications could mean that most in-demand items will sell out quickly.

This year’s Black Friday event could be the most expensive in history. Adobe, which tracks retail websites, projects that holiday discounts this year will range from 5% to 25%. This is down from the 10% to 30% off that customers have been used to. 

Because of the pandemic related shortages, a wave of sales rolled out from major stores like Best Buy, Walmart, Target, JC Penney, and Amazon way earlier than usual this year.

“My number one tip: Shop now,” said Sheri Lambert this past weekend. Lambert is an assistant professor of marketing at Temple University in Philadelphia. “Order that special gift for that special someone today. And even then, anticipate and expect the worst – but hope for the best”, she added.

While preparations are being made for Thanksgiving dinner and Black Friday items are getting checked off of shopping lists, now is also a good time to express gratitude and want to help others.

NBA player JaVale McGee, who just recently joined the Phoenix Suns, recently took to hosting youth and families from Child Crisis Arizona for Thanksgiving dinner at Footprint Center.

“Soon as I get to a city, I try to figure out where the need is, what can I do for the holiday season,” McGee said.

Child Crisis Arizona provides youth in Arizona “a safe environment, free from abuse and neglect, by creating strong and successful families.”

McGee has said giving back has been something he’s done since becoming an NBA player.

If you too are looking for ways to give back this holiday meaningfully, consider these few ideas on how to get involved.

During Thanksgiving, the efforts to deliver meals to people in need are ramped up. One organization in particular, Meals on Wheels, brings nutritious meals to senior citizens who are at risk of being hungry all year long. 

This year, Meals on Wheels People is holding a “donate dinner” campaign, which runs through Wednesday, November 24, at participating grocery store locations. In 2020, shoppers gave almost $250,000 to help feed those in need. 

At participating grocery locations, simply check out and donate a dinner to a homebound senior when you do. If your grocery store does not have the option, a donation can also be made online at

The nation is still slowly climbing out of the pandemic and many vulnerable populations may still need to get their groceries safely this holiday.

Several states have organizations which offer a service that allows you to grocery shop for them. This includes Friendly Shoppers in Connecticut and Shopping Assistance in New York City.

Offering your time or food donations to a food bank is also a lovely way to give back around the holidays. These banks are overwhelmed around this time of year and are searching for volunteers. Visit to find a food bank near you that may need assistance.

One of the best ways to give back to the homeless community and those who are hungry is by donating your time and services to a soup kitchen. These establishments are also overwhelmed around Thanksgiving and may need help. You can find a soup kitchen near you on this website:

Giving back year-round is important, but many feel especially called to do so during the holiday season, beginning with Thanksgiving. 

As you shop the Black Friday sales and spend time with family in person again, take time to also make the holiday a little brighter for those who are less fortunate.