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Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the ways in which we are fortunate, but it’s also the perfect time to show your appreciation for your community as a volunteer. One way to say “thanks” is to think back on all of the people and organizations who have helped shape who you are today, then plan to give back by sharing your talents and time. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Return to your starting point

Most local hospitals have volunteer opportunities and would welcome your time and talents in numerous capacities, including holding newborn babies. On a national level, organizations such as Ronald McDonald House help families find housing near medical facilities while their loved ones receive care, and are always in need of volunteers.

Honor your Father, Mother or Guardian.

Someone made you their top priority for you to make it to where you are today. You can say “thank you” with something as simple as a note, or an offer to finish up a project around the home. If you had a family member who utilized hospice care, you can honor their memory by volunteering for a local hospice facility and bring comfort to another patient and their family.

Give so that others may live.

You may have never required a blood transfusion, but you likely know someone who has. You can show your gratitude and selflessness this Thanksgiving by signing up to donate blood, registering to become an organ donor, or joining the life-saving list of bone marrow registry volunteers.

Go back to school.

Remember the people who made a positive impact on your grade school, high school or college experiences? How about a mentor who showed you the ropes when you were just starting your career? You can return the favor, simply by paying it forward, and inspiring another generation of volunteers by continuing this giving trend.

Help neighbors get back on their feet.

Every road bump and hurdle you’ve overcome in your life is a chance to show empathy for someone sharing similar struggles. You can help people in your community find shelter from the cold, share your skills to help them land a new job, or help someone in a difficult domestic situation get the care, counseling and support they need.

These ideas are just a start. Find more volunteer opportunities in your community with this simple search.

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