As of press time, the two major meal programs in the Tenderloin—St. Anthony Foundation and Glide Memorial—are no longer accepting volunteers for cooking on Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving—as many staff from social services will know—is one of the two most popular days in the year for volunteering. In the emotional calendar of US holidays, the winter holidays bring out some of what is best in us: generosity (many organizations receive the bulk of their donations in December), familiality, sincere concern for community.
Which results in a glut of do-gooders at meal programs on the holidays themselves. It’s not that hard to get to a point where the generosity is actually more of a burden than an aid.
But the good that many of us would do during Thanksgiving and the holiday season is actually work that’s needed all year round. After the tryptophan wears off, your help is still needed.
St. Anthony Foundation still needs help with meal serving on other days in the week of Thanksgiving itself. Glide especially needs help serving that 7–9 a.m. breakfast. And as we move from that emotional calendar into the romance of February and on to the jingoism of July, your help is still needed.
The season has us thinking most about generosity and gratitude now, but your community will be even more grateful for your generosity when many of the rest of us have forgotten the sentiment of the season.