Here's How to Put the 'Giving' in Thanksgiving This Season in Boise 

Empty Bowls, put on by the Idaho Foodbank, is one of many choices Boiseans have for giving back to their community during the Thanksgiving season.

Harrison Berry

Empty Bowls, put on by the Idaho Foodbank, is one of many choices Boiseans have for giving back to their community during the Thanksgiving season.

Boise families crave more than turkey and cranberry sauce. Nationally, the holidays are one of the most active seasons for charities, and donations and volunteer efforts increase as much as 50 percent in December. While Idahoans have long celebrated seasonal festivities by participating in local events and with community-based nonprofits, food banks and homeless shelters are also extremely popular.

These organizations have an outsized impact on the community, but big-hearted Boiseans be warned: Food bank and shelter volunteer slots fill up fast during the holidays, and not nearly enough during the rest of the year. Here are a few other opportunities to help out to satisfy Boise's compassion cravings:
  • Spread holiday cheer at the Festival of Trees: Each year, the Boise Centre lights up with rows of unique Christmas trees and wreaths donated by community organizations and families. Festive activities entertainment bring in hundreds of people during this event, which is open to the public from Wednesday-Monday, Nov. 21-26. Volunteers can be as young as 14 years old for shifts about three hours long. The proceeds for this annual event go toward expanding the cancer care at St. Alphonsus.
  • Get some wind in your feathers at the Turkey Day Run. While the runners preemptively work off their second helping of mashed potatoes, the volunteers are running the event. Participants don turkey outfits and bring non-perishable food items to a fun walk/run race benefiting the Boise Rescue Mission and City Light Home for Women and Children pantries.
Pass the plate with holiday donations. If you would rather spend your time with family and friends, but still feel the holiday hankering to help others, then perhaps donating to some local organizations will float your gravy boat. Here are a few seasonal opportunities unique to the Treasure Valley:
  • Empty Bowls, sponsored by the Idaho Food Bank. Patrons can create and donate bowls at Ceramica through November or attend the event and bid on a bowl made locally. Enjoy a hot bowl of soup from a local restaurant during the event on Friday, Nov. 23, from 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m., as part of this unique charitable opportunity.
  • WCA Giving Tree: The annual giving tree lights up on Nov. 23 for another chance to bring household items, clothing, coats, shoes, gift cards for groceries and gas, and toys to families in need. At the Boise Grove, people can pluck a tag off the fence next to the tree and drop off the items at the Women’s and Children’s Alliance or any Zions Bank.
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