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Community Service Ideas: Thanksgiving Edition

by Abby Parnell | Nov 14, 2017 | 4 min read

Today’s blog post is about opportunities to serve communities near and far. It’s only appropriate since Thanksgiving is right around the corner! As a Bridgeway student, I spend my time focusing on my academics and trying to find community service projects to add to my – sometimes – hectic schedule! It can definitely be a challenge thinking of new, unique ways to help make a change in the world (especially when you’re homeschooled), but I’m here to show you that it isn’t as difficult as it seems, and that – believe it or not – there are some opportunities that can easily fit into your daily schedule. Thanksgiving is a time of giving thanks, and in doing so, you can give back! Read more to find out how you can contribute this holiday season by giving back to those in need.

Bridgeway Service Projects

An easy way to get involved, while earning service hours, is through Bridgeway Academy’s community service projects. Each year, Bridgeway partners with an organization to host a unique, informational service project. Not only do students get to help others, they may also gain knowledge in the process! Last year, Bridgeway hosted an Act of Compassion event with Compassion International to raise awareness and funds for, and to give hope to, those in the heart of the lasting devastation in Haiti.

Leading up to act day, participating students were instructed to write journal entries based on what they had learned in the weekly emails. The final day consisted of a variety of activities that Bridgeway students and their families could choose from to enhance their learning experiences. Likewise, Bridgeway partnered with God’s Pit Crew earlier this school year to help those suffering from natural disasters by giving students the opportunity to raise money and create Blessing Buckets for those in need. God’s Pit Crew is still open to receiving donations – find out more here.

All in all, participating in Bridgeway Academy’s annual service projects is a great way to make a change in the world, get involved in the community, and earn hours for your humanitarian service.


Another great way to serve the community is to fundraise for a cause. Pick a cause you’re passionate about, or a charity or organization you seek to help, and start your fundraiser! You can fundraise money for a not-for-profit organization or even collect canned goods for your local soup kitchen. Fundraising not only helps provide for others, it also allows individuals to raise awareness at the same time! I am a fundraising partner with Ferocious Fighters, which is a not-for-profit organization that provides care packages for children around the world who are diagnosed with CRPS/RSD (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome/Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy).

I was diagnosed with CRPS a few years ago, and my loved ones nominated me to receive a care package from Ferocious Fighters. Once I had heard of, and experienced myself, the hope that this organization gives to children and their families enduring the pain and heartbreak of such a condition, I knew I needed to help in some way and give back to them. I decided
to contact them and become one of their fundraising partners, selling awareness bracelets to my family and friends and raising awareness along the way. The money helped Ferocious Fighters continue providing care packages for other nominated children on their wait list – I’m glad I could be a part of something so special and dear to my heart.

Feeding the Homeless

Additionally, a more hands-on option is helping feed the homeless through your local soup kitchen. You can volunteer your time to serve your community close-to-home by helping make food in the soup kitchen for the homeless shelters and donating canned goods to them as well. This goes along with the option to fundraise, because you can hold a food drive in your neighborhood for people to donate items to the soup kitchen.

Making Cards

A great way to make a change in a world much bigger than ourselves is to make cards for various causes. A few years ago, I was in the position of trying to find new community service projects to participate in. I was stuck, but luckily, the Internet saved the day! I found an organization, while doing research online, that collects cards from people like myself who want to make a difference and put a smile on someone’s face!

Cards for Hospitalized Kids is an organization that receives cards from people around the U.S. and sends them to various hospitals. The cards are then sorted out and given to hospitalized children with terminal illnesses. I’ve been contributing to this organization by making and sending them cards throughout the year for a few years now, and it gives me joy knowing I have made someone’s day a little more special and filled with love. This idea was ideal for me personally because I had a busy schedule, but I still wanted to help. It’s very simple: all you have to do is gather craft supplies, create cards with words of motivation, and send the cards to the address listed on their website.

If you leave a return address, they will send you a letter back thanking you for your kind services. If you are artistic, or have a child at home who likes to draw, you can have a lot of fun decorating the cards any way you’d like – I’m sure the children would love to see your masterpieces! This is also a great idea for religious education classes and large groups to participate in!
In addition, you can make cards and care packages for those serving our country. Check out some resources that I’ve gathered for this special cause below:

And that’s it! From volunteering your time at a local institution to contributing to causes in the comfort of your own home, there are many opportunities available for you to provide your service to help those in need. Making a change, whether big or small, starts with one idea. One spark of inspiration. One helping hand. Together, we can positively impact the world around us, one effort at a time.

So, what are you waiting for? Get started in giving back by serving your community today! And make sure to let us know in the comment section below of any additional community service ideas you have!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Abby Parnell
Abby graduated from Bridgeway in 2014 and was one of the first students to participate in our dual enrollment program through DeSales University. She is currently studying to be a physician's assistant at Valparaiso University. Her hobbies include playing instruments, reading, and physical fitness.
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