Along with the favorite family recipes, Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to pass the tradition of volunteering to your children.
While lots of the churches and shelters already have full volunteer rosters to serve Thanksgiving meals, there is a bounty of opportunities to contribute in the days leading up to Thanksgiving and on the leisure days that follow it.
RELATED: The ultimate guide to a budget-friendly Thanksgiving dinner
And there is no need to restrict yourselves to giving the less fortunate a chance to gobble some turkey and cranberries if other opportunities would suit your child better.
Many Atlanta organizations give kids and teens the chance to lend a helping hand over the holiday weekend.
With any luck, the holiday exposure will also lead your child to contribute on an ongoing basis.
Here are five leads on great places your child can volunteer this Thanksgiving in the metro Atlanta area:
Thanksgiving Food Drive sorting and distributing for Children's Restoration Network
10 a.m. until completion Nov. 17, 18 and 19
Event held at Roswell Shopping Center, 11060 Alpharetta Hwy. Roswell
All ages with parents
For materials to help support your food drive or for more information about volunteering, contact Cliff Kinsey at firstname.lastname@example.org 770-649-7117
There are two ways to assist the CRN's food drive. The nonprofit agency serves homeless children and mothers in Atlanta and throws a big food drive to assist with holiday provisions and provide a delicious holiday meal on Thanksgiving.
Deliver meals for Meals on Wheels on Thanksgiving Day
8:30-10:30 a.m.; 9-10:30 a.m.; 9:30-11 a.m. Thanksgiving Day. Meals on Wheels, 1705 Commerce Drive NW, Atlanta, GA 30318
All ages with parents.
Meals on Wheels in Atlanta needs help delivering meals on Thanksgiving Day to seniors throughout Atlanta. They’re currently in need of about 90 drivers to deliver routes to those seniors, who may not have family or loved ones to serve turkey and all the fixings. The time slots are early in the day, so there will still be time for the family to enjoy most of Thanksgiving Day after volunteering.
Note: Drivers must have a valid driver's license and proof of insurance.
Sorting and packing For Books for Africa Atlanta Region
9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays; 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Wednesday Nov. 21-23 (in 2-hour or more shifts); Shifts are 9-11 a.m. and 12-2 p.m. on Saturdays.
Ongoing need for volunteers, but closed Thankgiving weekend and all Sundays
3655 Atlanta Industrial Dr., Building 250. 404-603-8680
Ages 12-13 with parents, teens 14 and older can come on their own
This is a great chance for the more bookish and quiet kids to contribute to packing and sorting books that go out as "gifts of hope" for children in Africa. Unlike a lot of activities, you can count on there always being plenty of work to do at the facility. Wear closed-toe shoes and contact coordinator Jen Hale if you want to arrange for a large group.
On Wednesday, nearly 100 volunteers prepared a traditional meal of turkey, sweet potatoes, stuffing and vegetables for distribution on Thanksgiving Day. KENT D. JOHNSON/ AJC
Photo: Kent D. Johnson
Hosea Helps holiday dinner prep volunteers
Various shifts weekdays before Thanksgiving
Event held at the Georgia World Congress Center, 285 Andrew Young International Blvd. NW. 404-223-4000
Also ongoing need for young volunteers with parental supervision for the food pantry, warehouse, fundraising and food drives
Hosea Helps Care Center, 1035 Donnelly Avenue SW. 404-755-3353
Ages 12 and up with parental supervision
Hosea's primary focus areas include homeless prevention and food scarcity, so this is a great time to help your child learn about these issues and what it takes to combat them. Volunteers will assist with setting up tables, chairs, clothing, and other areas throughout the event space.
To volunteer for a special event or project: https://4hosea.volunteermatrix.com/
To volunteer at the Hosea Helps Care Center:
Photo: Contributed by FurKids/For the AJC
Shelter or thrift store volunteer for FurKids
Cat shelter 2650 Pleasantdale Road, Atlanta. 770-613-0009
Dog shelter 1520 Union Hill Road, Alpharetta. 770-613-0009
All ages kids, though some opportunities have restrictions
Peachtree Corners/Norcross Store, 4015 Holcomb Bridge Road, Suite 400, Peachtree Corners. 770-817-1405
Marietta Store, 1487 Roswell Road, Marietta. 770-578-6031
Kids ages 16-18
To volunteer, email email@example.com
Some kids are better with animals than adult human beings. If that describes your offspring, encourage their charitable inclinations with volunteer opportunities at this cage-free, no-kill shelter. The days after Thanksgiving are like any other for the animals; they still need feeding and watering and play, so the shelter will welcome volunteers (who have completed an application and any other requirements) those days.
Additional incentive: Make sure to check out the opportunity for Santa photo helpers and gift wrappers in the coming weeks for kids ages 9-18.
Complete an online application now for Thanksgiving weekend opportunities by accessing this link or contact the volunteer manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When is the tree lighting at Lenox Square? The Macy's Great Tree will be lighted before Thanksgiving, on Sunday, Nov. 19.