Thanksgiving Volunteer Opportunities

As Thanksgiving gets closer and closer, many people across the Austin area are wondering how they can help feed the less fortunate. Below are several organizations still in need of volunteers and donations. Be sure to contact the organization directly with any questions you might have.

Operation Turkey-We need volunteers! Help us cook food, sort donations, package the food in to-go containers, and deliver dinners and donations. Please sign up as a volunteer below. We will send you details via email. We ask that you come out on Thanksgiving morning to help cook, package, and deliver food to homeless and those in need. You are always able to select what you would like to do. Some people love to cook, but not deliver. Others want to deliver only. It’s all good! Any time and help you can offer Operation Turkey is greatly appreciated.

Please plan to show up between 8:15 and 8:30 am. Wear comfortable clothing and closed-toed shoes for walking safety. Kids are welcome and encouraged to come out with parents or guardians. We also have special programs that enlist the help of the younger members of your family. They will get to share the great Operation Turkey experience with you, and it will help open their young eyes to the importance of giving back to their communities.

There are several locations around town where you can help out.  You can sign up here to volunteer and to stay up-to-date on their needs as Thanksgiving draws nearer.


Mobile Loaves and Fishes-This year for Thanksgiving, Mobile Loaves & Fishes is teaming up once again with Jack Allen’s Kitchen and First Baptist Church to provide a delicious, locally sourced Thanksgiving Dinner for our homeless friends! First Baptist Church will once again be the venue, and Jack Gilmore, owner at Jack Allen’s Kitchen will be preparing a fantastic menu that includes roasted turkeys with all the trimmings!  Mobile Loaves & Fishes volunteers will set up, serve and cleanup after the event. Note: This event will happen on Monday, November 19, 2012 from 5:30- 7:30pm. To volunteer for this event, please register here.


The Homeless Resource Fair- The Homeless Resource Fair, formerly known as Stand Down, is a one-day event that links homeless individuals and families with community resources. This year’s event will be held on Saturday November 17, 2012 from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Austin State Hospital, 4110 Guadalupe, Austin, TX 78751.

It will provide attendees with medical services, referrals to social service agencies, legal assistance, haircuts, food, and much more. The Homeless Resource Fair is important in connecting hundreds of homeless individuals with a community that can restore their hope. With your help, we know this year’s Homeless Resource Fair will be successful in lending a hand to our homeless neighbors.

Without volunteers, the Homeless Resource Fair could not and would not run. This year, we need 150 volunteers to serve in fifteen different capacities – each one is crucial to the event, so we need people of all skills and talents. Whether you are interested in helping set up, greeting attendees as they come to the Homeless Resource Fair, assisting a doctor or nurse as they provide care, or facilitating the shower program, there’s a spot for you! You can register to volunteer here.


El Buen Samaritano Episcopal Mission: 22nd Annual Hands of Hope Thanksgiving event provides 1400 families with ingredients needed to prepare Thanksgiving meals. They are in need of over 100 volunteers to help on Saturday, November 17th to distribute food to 1,400 families during the 22nd Annual Hands for Hope Thanksgiving Event. Sign up today!


Salvation Army- It’s almost time for Thanksgiving on November 22! Together we can make it special for those in the greatest need with love and support. The downtown shelter is able to provide 1,200 meals to the homeless community thanks to you and your generosity.  You are receiving an exclusive invitation to participate this year. The growing trend in Austin is that more free food is becoming available during the holidays by local charity organizations. This is a very good sign from the Austin community! Due to these changes, the volunteer schedule is very limited.  Here is the schedule:Advertisement
10 volunteers needed during the set-up from 10:45 – 11:30

15 volunteer needed during the second shift from 1:30-3:30

10 volunteers needed during the break down from 3:30-5:30

A new requirement has been made by the City of Austin. All volunteers must complete a Food Handlers Certification at It’s $20.00, valid for 3 years, and usable at any food pantry in Austin. The submission deadline is November 15. Either you can scan and email it to me or fax it over to 512-476-6840 or drop it off at my office. I have to submit these in a timely manner to meet the City of Austin’s requirement.  The minimum age requirement to volunteer at Thanksgiving is 13 yrs and must be under adult supervision.

For questions, email Michelle.


The Austin Empty Bowl Project is an effort by Austin area potters to fight hunger. Always the Sunday before Thanksgiving, this annual family-friendly event invites you to select your favorite from thousands of locally crafted ceramic bowls, have it filled with gourmet soup and bread and listen to live music while enjoying your lunch. Your $20 donation goes to Kids Cafe, a program of the Capital Area Food Bank, and Meals for Kids, a program of Meals on Wheels & More. Take the bowl home with you to remind you that others have empty bowls. This year’s event will take place on Sunday, November 18, 2012 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Marchesa Hall & Theatre in Lincoln Village (across from Highland Mall). Hope to see you there!

To volunteer: Volunteers must be at least 16 years old and willing to spend at least two hours working at the event. Children younger than 16 may volunteer if accompanied by a parent (one child per parent). Click here to register online to volunteer.


This Monday, the South Austin Church of the Nazarene Food Pantry will be providing turkeys to 200+ families in our community. We would appreciate any and all donations of boxed stuffing mixes (any brand) to distribute with the turkeys.

Donations can be dropped off at the church (6711 Manchaca Road) during these times:

Friday 11/16 between 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Saturday 11/17 between 2:00-3:00 p.m.

Sunday 11/18 at 9:30 a.m

Catherine Prystup
About Catherine Prystup 2157 Articles
Catherine Prystup founded out of a desire to build a better community for Austin-area moms. She has three children, ages seventeen, eight and three years old.

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