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Jaime Danies / Senior Staff Photographer

For us struggling, sleep-deprived, and caffeine-addicted college students, Thanksgiving is all about the amazing food waiting for you at home and the sleep you’ll be able to catch up on during this short break. However, it is important to remember that Thanksgiving is also about expressing gratitude and being thankful for all that we have.

Although some might argue that John Jay food and exorbitant tuition fees are not worthy of thankfulness, we should all recognize that there are many others who do not have the same blessings and opportunities as we do. This is why Spectrum has compiled a list of different ways you could give back for this Thanksgiving, whether you are staying in the city or going home for the break!

Giving back near Columbia

If you are staying in the area during Thanksgiving or if you live in the surrounding neighborhood, this is the perfect opportunity for you to give back to our neighboring communities. There are many organizations and charities hosting Thanksgiving dinners or providing meal delivery services around Harlem and the Upper West Side. You can sign up for shifts at the Gobble Gobble Give NYC event on November 22 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Church of the Intercession. Their website has more information for registration. You can also participate in the 2018 Thousand Turkey Challenge where you can donate a frozen turkey to the Church of St. Paul & St. Andrew.

Alternatively, you could start volunteering at the Broadway Community down on 114th Street on a regular basis and start a routine this Thanksgiving season. They host soup kitchens every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, along with food preparation shifts on Mondays and Sundays and clothing distribution every third Saturday of the month. This would be an amazing opportunity to start being more charitable and express your gratitude on a more long term basis.

Giving back in NYC

If you are going to be somewhere in the city during break, then you can find many other opportunities to give back with organizations that work citywide for Thanksgiving. The Feeding NYC initiative at Chelsea Piers prepares and hand-delivers meals to families in need. You can help prepare and deliver meals on November 20 by registering on their website to get more details and information about the event. You could also register and volunteer at the Manhattan Church of Christ the Saturday after Thanksgiving from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to serve a Thanksgiving meal to the homeless. Alternatively, you could sign up with Citymeals on Wheels to hand-deliver meals on Thanksgiving and even afterwards to homebound senior citizens. This is another way to adopt a new routine and become more active in the community on a long-term basis.

Giving back at home

If you are going home for Thanksgiving, you can still help out by donating to different organizations, like Friendsgiving for No Kids Hungry to fund a Friendsgiving organized by different hosts for children in need. You could also donate to the New York Cares Coat Drive for them to purchase coats for homeless people, seeing as the weather is getting colder and colder. If you would like to help out on a more global scale, there are many organizations, such as Action Against Hunger, that provide for undernourished communities all around the world.

columbia barnard new york thanksgiving campus
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