While it's easy to go around the dinner table and express your gratitude, we're challenging you to go the extra mile this holiday by helping those who aren't with their families and need a good old-fashioned dose of TLC. A smile, cozy scarf, or a warm meal can go a lot further than you think. So, before your schedule turns into complete chaos, carve out a little bit of your time before carving into that bird this Thanksgiving.
Calling all runners and joggers! It's not too late to register for the Turkey Trot. In fact, you can saunter over to Lincoln Park on Thanksgiving morning and still participate. The annual 5K event benefits the Greater Chicago Food Depository, which needs some extra help this time of year. Simply bring two (or more) cans of food or other nonperishable items with you on race day to do your part. Even your registration fee ($30 in advance; $40 the day of the race) goes toward this amaze cause. An extra bonus? You'll burn away part of Thanksgiving dinner before you've even eaten it.
For additional information on registration, arrival time, and meeting location, visit the Turkey Trot website.
Little Brothers Friends Of The Elderly
Sometimes, a little convo is all it takes to make someone's day. LBFE helps out the elderly folks who can't leave their homes unassisted and/or don't have family or friends around. Seriously — we're tearing up. There are numerous way you can help out, from food deliveries and holiday luncheons to an hour of your time to simply lend an ear. Who knows? You might just learn something from one of these wise old folks.
For a full list of volunteer opps, visit the LBFE website.
If you can't imagine not being home for the holidays, just think about what our amazing soldiers are going through. Help brighten someone's day by curating a care package of thoughtful (and useful) items. No need to break the bank — AS says that the best gift you could give is your support via a letter of encouragement from you, your kiddies, a local church or school.
Visit the Any Soldier website for all the deets on who and how to send your goods.
Meals On Wheels
Chi-town is a HUGE supporter of MOW, which completely inspires us! Big soirées like the Celebrity Chef Ball and King of the River Casino Night always need extra volunteers — but there are ways to get up close and personal with the cause, too. Along with delivering meals to home-bound senior citizens and people with disabilities, you can head out to a senior living community and be a partner in a round of bingo, or a helping hand at an arts-and-crafts session. And for only an hour of your day, we say that's time well spent.
For more information on volunteer opportunities, visit the Meals on Wheels Chicago website.
Headquarters Turkey Drive
To prove that donations come in all forms from all places, Headquarters bar is hosting its annual turkey drive, “Don’t Be a Jerky, Donate a Turkey,” to benefit families in the Lakeview and surrounding neighborhoods. Drop-offs are from the hours of 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Sunday, November 18 — the last day of the drive. After you deliver your bird, stick around for a well-earned libation or two.
Headquarters, 950 West Wolfram (at Sheffield Avenue); 773-665-5660.
Photo: Courtesy of Meals on Wheels