Americans have had a love affair with Thanksgiving for generations (along with Canadians, though they celebrate it in October). And, while it is an intensely family-oriented holiday (with lots of football added), Thanksgiving also serves as the catalyst for many Junior League outreach programs.

That’s not surprising, given The Junior League’s long commitment to health and nutrition. But what is interesting about League programs is the variety of ways they are implemented around the basic theme of serving our communities.

For example:

  • The Junior League of Boca Raton, FL: Partnering with Caring Kitchen, a local food pantry, to package “Thanksgiving in a Box,” JLBR members collect 90 boxes of almost everything you need for Thanksgiving minus the turkey (which is provided by Caring Kitchen). JLBR members then decorate copy paper boxes and fill them with the collected food stuffs to be given to local families in need.
  • The Junior League of Champlain Valley, VT: Participating in “Operation Turkey” at the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf, the largest food shelf in Vermont, which expects to distribute more than 2,000 turkeys this season. JLCV members will check in patrons and help them select a bird to feed their family and friends for the holiday – often the only time of year they can entertain more than just the members of their own household. This year, JLCV members are also bringing 200 reusable tote bags contributed by local supermarkets and a bank. Not only will they help patrons who walk to the food pantry carry birds home, they can use them afterward for shopping.
  • The Junior League of Hampton Roads, VA: JLHR members collect Thanksgiving food items to be assembled in packages and delivered to patients being treated for female reproductive cancers at Riverside Cancer Care Services, the League’s signature Project partner.
  • The Junior League of Las Vegas, NV: Partnering with HELP of Southern Nevada, an organization JLLV helped to found, members provide volunteer time as well as non-perishable food items (especially instant potatoes, stuffing mix, desserts and brown paper grocery bags) for the annual Thanksgiving Bag Stuffing project. The goal: to fill as many as 1,500 bags of food for local families in need.
  • The Junior League of Portland, ME: As part of its three-year focus on hunger and food insecurity in the community, JLP is partnering with Good Shepherd Food Bank to “STUFF the TRUCK” with non-perishable food items for local residents in need.
  • The Junior League of San Diego, CA: JLSD members are supporting NBC 7 San Diego for the NBC Bay Area Food Drive by collecting and sorting food stuffs dropped off at area Safeway Supermarkets, a food drive partner and sponsor.

Does your Junior League have its own great Thanksgiving story? Share it on The Junior League Facebook page!