5 Ways You Can Volunteer in Honolulu for Thanksgiving 2017

Here’s how you can show your gratitude to the community during the holiday season.
Hawaii Food Bank
Photos: Courtesy of Hawai‘i Foodbank


The holiday season’s officially begun, but for those who are less fortunate, these days might not always be full of good cheer. Here are five ways you can help change that, by donating your time this Thanksgiving weekend.


1.  River of Life Mission

On Nov. 23, from 9 to 11 a.m., River of Life Mission in Chinatown will be offering breakfast to the homeless. Lunch is from 1 to 2:30 p.m. The mission needs volunteers to help serve turkey, mashed potatoes and veggies—your traditional Thanksgiving Day fare. Volunteers are expected to wear comfortable clothes and closed-toe shoes.


To sign up, you can call River of Life at (808) 524-7656 or email info@riveroflifemission.org.


2. Calvary Chapel of Honolulu

On Nov. 21, starting at 7 p.m., Calvary Chapel of Honolulu will be serving a Thanksgiving dinner at Waimānalo Beach. The evening will begin with a Christian service—a gospel message and worship—followed by hot meals. Volunteers can help serve food and donate gently used clothes.


On Nov. 22, starting at 10 a.m., the church plans to feed several hundred homeless at ‘A‘ala Park for another Thanksgiving feast. The church will need volunteers to help set up tables and chairs and serve food. If you’re interested in lending a hand, you’ll be asked to sign a waiver and state your faith—though it’s a Christian service, all faiths are welcome.


To sign up, call (808) 524-0844.


3. The Salvation Army – Hawai‘i

Salvation Army
Photo: Courtesy of The Salvation Army – Hawai‘i


The Salvation Army’s Thanksgiving Day dinner at Neal Blaisdell Center is a popular annual effort that feeds almost 2,000 attendees, but there’s already a long waitlist for extra volunteers. For next year, remember to sign up early if you’re interested in participating, as registration begins Oct. 1: hawaii.salvationarmy.org/hawaii/thanksgivingdinner

However, there’s another initiative that begins in Kāhala, Pearlridge and Windward malls on Black Friday, Nov. 24. The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree Campaign runs every holiday season to provide underprivileged children and seniors with gifts for Christmas. The public is invited to pick an angel tag from a “tree,” which corresponds to a child or senior with a special wish for Christmas, purchase the requested gift (or equivalent) and then return it to the same Angel Tree location with your tag.


Starting Nov. 24, there are volunteer shifts available to help at the Angel Tree table at the mall, and you’ll interact with the public, answering questions about the Angel Tree and The Salvation Army, collecting gifts and keeping track of receipts and tags. Salvation Army is also looking for individuals who will be able to help sort all the toys and gifts brought in through the Angel Tree program, unloading vehicles with gifts, carrying bags of toys and other duties as assigned.


Sign up by visiting hawaii.salvationarmy.org/hawaii/angeltree.


4. Meals on Wheels

Volunteer slots for Thanksgiving Day itself are all full, but there are still opportunities for the day after Thanksgiving Day on November 24. Skip shopping on Black Friday and consider taking on a Meals on Wheels route. It’s short – only about an hour to an hour and a half to deliver – and you’ll be with 11 other volunteers. Comfortable clothes and shoes are recommended.


Supplies will be provided, such as insulated tote bags to carry the meals. Meals on Wheels will provide route directions with names, addresses, types of meal, directions from the kitchen to each stop and any special instructions. You’ll be part of an orientation the morning of the scheduled delivery.


Contact Brad Akamu at (808) 784-2756 or brad@hmow.org, or visit the Meals on Wheels website at hmow.org. You can click on the volunteer tab and learn more as well as download the volunteer application.


5. Hawai‘i Foodbank

Hawaii Food bank


Volunteers are needed this week for the Hawai‘i Foodbank’s Check-Out Hunger program. You’ll help maintain the program displays at various grocery stores, including Times Supermarkets, Don Quijote and Tamura’s Market locations. The campaign allows grocery shoppers to add a small donation to their grocery bills by taking a green coupon to the register.


If you’re interested in volunteering, make sure to wear covered shoes. You’ll also be provided with a Hawai‘i Foodbank T-shirt. Your job will be to make sure that the store’s Check-Out Hunger displays and green coupons are visible and ready to go.


To sign up, you can contact Marielle at marielle@hawaiifoodbank.org or visit hawaiifoodbank.org.