A person wearing a face mask putting a jar of peanut butter on a shelf filled with food
Ben Little fills a food order at Ram Pantry last year. Ram Pantry is among the organizations that the VCU and VCU Health communities can support this Thanksgiving holiday season and beyond. (Kevin Morley, University Marketing)

Lend a hand around the community during Thanksgiving

Members of the VCU and VCU Health communities looking for volunteer opportunities and other ways to give have an array of ways to contribute during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Share this story

Holidays are a time of rest as well as festivities, and for many, they also are a time to give back to those in need.

Members of the Virginia Commonwealth University and VCU Health communities looking for volunteer opportunities and other ways to give have an array of ways to contribute during the Thanksgiving holiday and beyond. These easy ways to get involved and help range from providing face-to-face support to assembling at-home kits. Below are just a sampling of volunteer opportunities available. Follow the links to the organizations listed and contacts provided to clarify details.

  • The Giving Heart’s Community Thanksgiving Feast event on Nov. 24 at the Richmond Convention Center needs volunteers who can pick up and deliver food to recipients, as well as people who can create boxes or bags of items for seniors in need. The donations for seniors must be received by Nov. 23 at 1 p.m. For questions, contact The Giving Heart at 804-749-4726.
  • Want to help provide comfort items, activity kits or other support items to VCU Health patients from the comfort of your home? This Virtual Volunteer Project List details a number of activities that groups or individuals of all ages can work on together that benefit patients in outpatient and inpatient settings. Volunteers can get started on the project of their choice on the list and then contact Volunteer Services at volunteer@vcuhealth.org; call 804-828-0922 at least one business day in advance to schedule a drop-off.
  • The Ronald McDonald House Charities team needs help stocking offerings on the Happy Wheels cart in the pediatric emergency department for the increased number of young patients and parents. Volunteers can put together grab-and-go bags of food items for the cart. Donations can be dropped off at the Ronald McDonald House at 2330 Monument Avenue in Richmond any day between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Contact: Diana, volunteer director: diana@rmhc-richmond.org.
  • Feed More, a nonprofit that provides food and meals to those in need throughout Central Virginia has drop-in volunteer opportunities for people who can deliver, prep or package food for Meals on Wheels or its Children’s Programs as well as assisting with the Hunger Hotline. People can also run a food drive to donate to the vital organization.
  • There are many ways to help VCU students in need of food who benefit from the Ram Pantry, which is located on the first floor of the VCU Student Center. People who would like to donate to Ram Pantry should visit Ram Pantry's Amazon Wish List to purchase food to keep the shelves stocked. To assist by coordinating a food drive, email the Ram Pantry at rampantry@vcu.edu. In addition, Giving Tuesday is Nov. 29 and represents an opportunity to give to Ram Pantry with others in the VCU community.
  • Do you have professional clothing that you no longer use? You can donate those items to the Suit Yourself Clothes Closet at the VCU Student Center and at the VCU MCV Hunton Student Center. The Clothes Closet provides a free work wardrobe for students who need to look professional for a conference or job. Financial gifts are welcome too. Your workplace can also sponsor a clothing donation drive. Let the staff at the Suit Yourself Closet know you want to help by emailing: SuitYourself@vcu.edu.
  • The Daily Planet health clinic’s Breaking Bread program involves groups of four to six people who provide meals for the residents living at the Daily Planet’s Medical Respite and Safe Haven programs. Groups such as congregations, book clubs, businesses, schools or families can purchase food, prepare meals and then bring it to the facility to serve to the residents staying in one of these programs. Contact: Sarah Tunner at stunner@dailyplanetva.org or 804-783-2505, ext. 2101.
  • Volunteers are needed to help with the Richmond Road Runners Club Turkey Trot 10K on Nov. 24 in Byrd Park. Volunteer roles include course support, finish line support, general help or check-in/registration support. Sign up using the online form.
  • Looking further ahead, the VCU Medical Center Auxiliary will hold its annual Love Lights and Secondhand Santa events Dec. 5 to 9 in the main hospital during daytime hours. The group often needs volunteer help at the table ready to interact with staff, patients and visitors and explain the event or help sell holiday decorations. Contact: Marjorie Blanton-Youssef, VCU Health Massey Cancer Center volunteer coordinator, for a link to the sign up 804-828-0922, Marjorie.Blanton@vcuhealth.org.