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Give Thanks on Thanksgiving in Chicago

Sure, Thanksgiving is about Turkey and pumpkin pie and family and football, but what about the ‘thanks’ part of the holiday? Maybe you give a quick prayer or note of thanks before the big meal, or do a traditional Thanksgiving activity, but this year why not go out of your comfort zone and count your blessing a little differently?


Give some of yourself by donating time on Thanksgiving day or weekend at a soup kitchen, senior center, homeless shelter, or pet agency. Choose your favorite organization or try the Greater Chicago Food Depository. You can also find a list of organizations needing help by visiting CBS Chicago.

Give a Pet a Home

Chicago Lake Condos - Jean Ward - Give Thanks on ThansgivingAdopt a cat, dog, or other homeless pet as a sign of thanks to the universe. Bring home a canine or feline to share your home and life this holiday season. Visit PAWS Chicago, City of Chicago Animal Care and Control (ACC) or Chicago Cat Rescue for more information

Send a Forgotten Friend a Note of Thanks for Their Relationship

What better time than Thanksgiving to let friends, family, and co-workers we seldom think of thanking know just how special they really are. For a $25 donation, the Chicago Canine Rescue Foundation will send a Thanksgiving card with your personal message via snail mail or email to the recipient of your choice. Click here to get started or email Chicago Canine Rescue at [email protected] to send out multiple cards at one time

Celebrate at McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Head downtown to watch the 8am parade that travels on State Street from Congress to Randolph, and will be Grand Marshalled by Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider. Watch thousands of high school band members perform and see hundreds of floats, animals, and staged performances.

Donate by Running

Hit the Turkey Day 5K/8K Run Chicago in Lincoln Park, which commences at 9am on Thanksgiving morning on Cannon Drive, North of Fullerton. Proceeds benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository. For registration or more info, visit Turkey Day Run Chicago. Don’t forget to bring 2 canned good items to donate either at packet pickup or on race day!

Invite Those with No Place to Go for Thanksgiving Dinner

None of the above options work? Simply extend a Thanksgiving Dinner invitation to new guests this year. It could be as simple as inviting a neighbor or co-worker to break bread with you and your family, or as creative as calling a local college and inquiring about hosting a group of student who aren’t traveling home for the holidays to join you for dinner. Don’t forget sharing Thanksgiving with the homeless, whether it be in the form of inviting folks in for dinner, donating unprepared food for preparation at organized Thanksgiving events, or contributing a fully prepared dinner or individual items to a distribution center or known location for those without housing. Try The Basket Brigade at The Giving Effect or The Common Pantry on Chicago’s north side.

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