Where to Volunteer on Thanksgiving in New York

As we go through our daily lives, we see the importance of always being thankful and appreciative of all we have. From the occasional thank-you we give to the enormous gifts we buy; it’s known that we can show gratitude in various ways.

Gratitude warms the hearts of those we give them to; it makes them feel appreciated and in turn makes them happy and willing to do more.

This theory was what formed the basis of the Thanksgiving celebration. It originated as a day to give thanks and a harvest festival, and the theme of the day is centered on giving thanks.

History of Thanksgiving

The Americans first recognized and documented thanksgiving in October 1621. This was celebrated by the pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World. Americans refer to this event as the “First Thanksgiving”. The event, which lasted three days was attended by ninety Wampanoag Native American people and fifty-three Pilgrims.

Although Thanksgiving is now a national holiday, it didn’t start as such. It was celebrated on and off since 1789 with a proclamation from President George Washington. President Thomas Jefferson chose not to celebrate it and it was celebrated intermittently until President Abraham Lincoln, in 1863, declared it to be celebrated on every last Thursday of November.

In 1870, a Holiday Act was signed into law by President Ulysses Grant to make Thanksgiving a yearly appointed Federal holiday and it was, later on, made a paid holiday in 1885. It was later moved to a permanent date of the fourth Thursday in November by an act of Congress.

Thanksgiving Food

The idea of Thanksgiving is a celebration with the Thanksgiving dinner as its centerpiece. The dinner typically consists of foods that are native to Americans such as turkey, potato (either mashed or sweet), stuffing, squash, green beans, cranberries (sauce mostly), and, pumpkin pie.

Turkey is usually the most featured food at most dinners and it is usually roasted and stuffed but sometimes deep fried. Other dishes at the dinner are regarded as side dishes. Brussels sprouts, some fall vegetables, and sweet corn as a side dish is associated with Thanksgiving while the pie is served as a dessert.

A fun fact is that Americans eat more food on Thanksgiving than on any other day of the year due to the size of the Thanksgiving dinner.

Thanksgiving Colors

The colors of thanksgiving are the colors that represent nature, gratitude, and anticipation for something better. Thanksgiving is usually associated with the colors red, brown, yellow or gold, and orange. It brings us to a place of looking back with gratitude and the anticipation of something new.

  • Brown: it is the turkey with the stuffing to adorn. It represents the earth and nature, a bountiful harvest, and the fruitfulness of the earth. It is a comforting and grounding color, and it also represents physical health.
  • Red: this color stands for cranberries, usually served in sauce form for Thanksgiving. It also symbolizes fallen leaves.
  • Yellow (gold): it is mostly attached to positivity and feelings of happiness. It stands for corn (sweet corn). It is used to evoke pleasant, cheerfulness, and optimism for the future.
  • Orange: represents the pumpkin and it is a representation of harvest. It is also associated with joy and positivity.

Thanksgiving Fashion

Fashion is an integral and basic part of our everyday life and it is no exception during Thanksgiving. Fashion makes use of various elements such as color, texture, line, and shape. When dressing for thanksgiving, the colors such as brown, yellow, red, and orange can be incorporated into your outfits.

Thanksgiving is in the fall, the cold is coming down and winter is coming; a knitted dress or top, a turtleneck sweater, palazzo pants, boots, or a hoodie would do for casual outings and at-home dinners. For more formal occasions, a knitted tunic gown, trench coat, modern power suit, long-sleeved dresses, blazers, and thigh-high boots are a great way to go.

Thanksgiving Customs and Traditions


Food drives in various communities collect packaged and non-perishable foods throughout the year to provide food for the poor and less privileged on Thanksgiving. Several volunteers are also enlisted to serve food in various communities. What’s more, five days after Thanksgiving is tagged Giving day, set aside to give to people who do not have as much.

Giving thanks

As Thanksgiving was founded as a way of giving thanks for blessings, it became a regular event. Families say a mealtime prayer, and churches also hold Thanksgiving-themed services, on the Thanksgiving weekend or a week before or after it.

Part of this custom is that each member of the family states something they’re grateful for before saying the prayers.


Professional football games are usually held on Thanksgiving days. Playing American football on Thanksgiving dates back to the 19th century and until recently they were the only game played on Thanksgiving week.

College basketball also holds elimination tournaments over the Thanksgiving weekend.

By Thanksgiving, golf and auto-racing are usually in their off-season but they have events that take place on Thanksgiving weekend.

Turkey trots are road running events that hold on Thanksgiving mornings in most American cities. It can run from a one-mile fun race to a full-blown marathon.


Thanksgiving is the time to be with family; people who live far from family travel from wherever they are to be with them.

Turkey Pardon

Every year, the President of the United State of America is gifted two live turkeys for Thanksgiving but instead of killing them, he grants them a pardon to go live on a farm.

The Wishbone

The wishbone is a forked bone found between the neck and breast of a bird. Breaking the wishbone of the turkey is a tradition in some families. After the meat has been removed and the bone becomes dry, the wishbone is held on both sides by two people who each make a wish and pulled. The person with the bigger part gets their wish when the bone is broken.


The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade is a tradition in New York City. The parade comprises marching bands, floats, songs, performances, and giant helium-filled balloons. It is an annual event watched by lots of people on Thanksgiving.

With Thanksgiving approaching, we wanted to highlight where to volunteer on Thanksgiving in NYC.

1. Friendsgiving for No Kid Hungry – Citywide Sign up to host a Friendsgiving celebration for No Kid Hungry. It's an easy way for you and your community to come together and give back to kids in need. For every $100 you raise, you'll feed a child up to 1,000 meals

2. New York Common Food Pantry 2022 Thanksgiving Food DriveCitywide The New York Common Food Pantry has served more than 11 million meals across NYC since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Consider organizing a food drive on its behalf at your home, work, or school to help the pantry collect food to distribute to low-income New York families. Nonperishable items such as canned cranberry sauce, rice, gravy, stuffing mix, cake mix, pasta, and canned beans are best. No glass jars, please. The food drive runs through Friday, November 4. NYCP also hosts a toy drive, from Friday, November 25-Wednesday, December 7.

3. The Coalition for the Homeless operates the Grand Central Food Program, which is still operating seven days a week to provide food and emergency items to homeless New Yorkers. In an effort to maintain social distancing and prevent the spread of the virus, they are not currently accepting new volunteers, but you can make a donation online.

4. God's Love We Deliver provides nutritious meals and counseling to individuals suffering from serious illnesses, cancer, or HIV/AIDs. The organization delivers an incredible 1.9 million meals each year and has continued to operate throughout the pandemic. To volunteer this Thanksgiving, you can register here on the organization's website. Volunteers are needed to help cook, package, and deliver meals.

5. Typically, the Food Bank For New York City hosts 800 volunteers each week to serve food and maintains a full volunteer calendar. Although the food bank is no longer accepting volunteer assistance, they are encouraging people to donate so they can continue to provide to-go meals and take-home pantry bags for those in need.


Thanksgiving is a time to show thankfulness and gratitude. A lot of people seize this chance of this event by showing their appreciation both to God and to their loved ones. We like to focus on the good. What are you thankful for?

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.