List of 2014 Thanksgiving Volunteer Opportunities

The only thing that fills up faster than a Thanksgiving volunteer opportunity is a Wal-Mart on Black Friday. It gets that crazy.

So while you might think we’re getting ahead of ourselves, offering you a list of places to volunteer for Thanksgiving in mid-October, know this: Lots of these slots are almost gone. So click-through and sign up now!



EL BUEN SAMARITANO: Oct. 1- Nov. 13, Nov. 8, Nov. 15

El Buen is currently looking for volunteers to assist in its food pantry and lend a helping hand at this year’s Hands for Hope Thanksgiving Event, an annual community-wide event that gathers donations of the traditional foods served during Thanksgiving and distributes them to Austin families in need for Thanksgiving celebrations in their own homes.

Food Pantry volunteers help to sort food, stock pantry shelves and work directly with clients, helping them to assemble bags of healthy food and recipes for them to take home to their families. Food Pantry hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday 9am – 12pm.

El Buen is also looking for bilingual volunteers to help register eligible families who will receive Thanksgiving baskets the Saturday before Thanksgiving. There are multiple registration dates and one distribution date.

SIGN UP: Many volunteers needed with all opportunities before Thanksgiving Day. Volunteers are screened and trained. Learn more here.



Almost three decades of this event, and it’s still going strong. All proceeds from the Trot go to Caritas of Austin, a local charity that supports Austin’s working poor and homeless people. ThunderCloud has raised more than $2 million for Caritas since the event began in 1991.

Of course, you can sign up to run five miles on Thanksgiving morning, but the event needs several dozen volunteers, too. Sign up to help with packet distribution, man a water table at the race and more.

SIGN UP: Use a handy sign-up tool to claim your spot.

austin empty bowl

AUSTIN EMPTY BOWL PROJECT: Nov. 23 or Donate bowls by Nov. 21

Are you a potter or a pottery student? Here’s a great opportunity for you to donate some of your work for a great cause. This one-day event raises money for Capital Area Food Bank and Meals on Wheels and More by selling bowls filled with hot, gourmet soup. Even if you’re not a potter, you can volunteer to set up, serve and more. This event gets bigger every year so it’s a call for all hands on deck!

Volunteers on the day-of must be at least 16 years old and be willing to spend at least two hours working at the event. For potters, your bowls must conform to certain specifications; they also ask that you complete a donation form.

SIGN UP: Visit Austin Empty Bowl Project for more information.

MLF feast photo by Austin Chronicle


Mobile Loaves & Fishes serves hundreds of our homeless neighbors by providing them food and clothing. It also creates innovative solutions to chronic homelessness by empowering the whole community to show its support.

This year, you can help serve homeless neighbors at the annual “Feast of Giving,” Mon, Nov. 24. Volunteers will help with setup and take down, plate meals, serve meals, fellowship with attendees, monitor tables, refill drinks, cleanup, etc., and are expected to be there for the duration of the job they sign up. Specific times will be given when volunteers sign up for jobs.

SIGN UP: Fills quickly and the deadline to sign up is Wed, Nov. 19. For more information, contact Trudy Six at MLF.

HEB Feast of Sharing photo by Arlen Nydam


This annual event serves more than 14,000 meals to anyone who comes in, and it all takes place in downtown Austin at the Palmer Events Center from 4-8 p.m. The Austin H-E-B Feast of Sharing Holiday Dinner is one of 27 dinners that H-E-B hosts throughout the state of Texas and will serve more than 250,000 people this year. Activities include live entertainment and a children’s area sponsored by the Austin Museum of Art.

Volunteers are needed for two shifts, 3:00-6:30 p.m. 6:00-9:00 p.m. with multiple volunteer assignments including row captains, table waiters, pie servers, greeters and more. Volunteers must be at least 14 years old.

SIGN UP: Believe it or not, as of this writing, not many volunteer slots remain. Run, don’t walk, to participate in this event.  More here.

operation turkey

OPERATION TURKEY: Nov. 26 – Nov. 27

OT provides 20,000 meals, clothing, and toiletries to the homeless and less fortunate Thanksgiving Day in Texas and Colorado.

There’s no age limit to volunteer and they encourage everyone to lend a hand to prepare, package, and deliver meals. Certain locations in Austin limit the number of volunteers on Thanksgiving Day so you must sign up quickly to ensure you get your first choice of location.

The day before Thanksgiving, help prepare food for distribution at the Turkey Tailgate at Bikini’s Sports Bar and Grill.  More than 400 turkeys are smoked that day! You can also help collect and sort donations of clothing and toiletries.

On Thanksgiving Day, volunteers distribute food to homeless friends from 8am until noon.

SIGN UP: Hundreds of volunteers needed, but this fills up quickly. Visit Operation Turkey or on Facebook to stay learn more details.



Each year, Meals on Wheels has hundreds of home-bound Austin clients signed up to signed up to receive holiday meals. Not only are you delivering their Thanksgiving meal , but you are also giving them the comfort and company everyone should have on Thanksgiving. Great for families and friends, sign up to deliver as many meals that day as you can handle.

SIGN UP: Update! Looks like they’re full for Thanksgiving as of Nov. 12. But they do need help the DAY BEFORE Thanksgiving and for Christmas. Learn more here.


Are we missing any? Please send them to us or simply add them in the comment below. Thanks!

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2 Comments on List of 2014 Thanksgiving Volunteer Opportunities

  1. Annie’s Way is a great community collaboration every Thanksgiving! It is put on at St. William’s church. We are so thankful our clients are included each year as recipients. Bring, plate, or deliver food to grateful recipients!

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