The Season of Thanks & Giving

It’s that time of year again when pumpkin spice fills the air and my Thanksgiving planning gets into full swing. We host anywhere from 10-15 guests and, depending on how many are on the base at Camp Pendleton, we often extend an invite to Marines who find themselves without family. The young adults in our family always enjoy visiting with them and watching a football game. I send them back with boxes of candies and goodies to share.

In my world, it is a holiday filled with gratitude–a time for family to gather and celebrate. But, as I get older, I really think more and more about what I can do to give back to others. Here is a short list of some programs that are going on throughout the year. They would very much welcome our support in whatever way we can help. During the holidays, help is especially timely and much appreciated.

Bracken’s Kitchen: Bill Bracken is a beloved local chef. The goal of Bracken’s Kitchen is to address the issue of food insecurity in Orange County through the use of mobile kitchens or food trucks. With the growing popularity of these “restaurants on wheels,” they bring a high quality and healthy meal to those who need it most. Volunteers can participate throughout the year and certainly during the holiday season as well. They are needed on the food trucks, and they have a very basic “wish list” on Amazon for needed supplies. Folks can order a few items and have them sent directly to Bill and his team. For more information, please visit his website:

Someone Cares Soup Kitchen: They feed more than 300 per day and need help with serving, preparing the food and clean-up each day, all year long. They are located in Costa Mesa. Those who want to volunteer during Thanksgiving week can contact them after November 1st to get on the list. For more information, call 949.548.8861, ext. 201/

Orange County Rescue Mission’s Turkey Trot: This special event will be held on Thanksgiving morning (November 23, 2017) with the goal of raising enough support to provide more than 30,000 meals for the hungry and homeless of Orange County. Last year’s event was a huge success with more than 850 participants, and they are hoping for an even greater turnout this year. The 5K run/walk will be at the Village of Hope in Tustin. Pre-Registration is needed.

South County Outreach: People can donate turkeys or grocery store gift cards to people in need so they can have a happy Thanksgiving. Their website is very thorough and has about 20 different opportunities to volunteer as an individual, student, family, or corporation just for the holiday season. Call 949.380.8144, ext. 22 or visit

OneOC: This is an organization that connects volunteers with non-profit organizations. They have a great website with many options, based on location, hours available and what type of volunteering is desired. It could be for throughout the year or during the holiday season. For more information, visit

Here is hoping your Thanksgiving holiday is filled with joy, gratitude and maybe a sprinkle of giving back.