A wild turkey stands on the quad of the Simmons Residence Campus

3 Ways to Make a Difference This Thanksgiving

Whether you're looking forward to a few days of relaxation with friends and family or you'd like to give back this Thanksgiving — there are plenty of ways to make a positive impact in your community! From volunteering your time, to reducing your food waste this holiday, you can easily make a difference.  


VOLUNTEER YOUR TIME

Volunteering your time and skills is a great way to give back to your community and build your own local network. According to Professor Kristina Pechulis, a great place to volunteer is Community Servings — a not-for-profit food and nutrition program providing services to individuals and families living with critical and chronic illnesses. Community Servings is one of the largest volunteer programs in the area with plenty of ways to get involved. 

If you’re looking for something a little different, several websites can match you with volunteer opportunities in your local area: 


BE MINDFUL OF FOOD WASTE

Food waste is already a pervasive problem in the United States, and food waste on Thanksgiving is no exception. Thankfully, with a little advance planning, avoiding excess waste can be an easy task. Although many of us look forward to Thanksgiving leftovers, try preparing your dishes with a specific headcount in mind — chances are, you'll still have enough for the next day.

Speaking of leftovers, get creative! You might get sick of turkey sandwiches after a few days, so don't be afraid to try something different. There are countless recipes that will inspire you to reassemble your leftovers in new and interesting ways. 

Still have leftovers of vegetables you didn't finish in time? Or food scraps from your Thanksgiving prep? Consider composting, it's easier than you think and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has great tips on how to get started.


AVOID SINGLE USE TABLEWARE 

Let's be honest, no one wants to tackle a mountain of dishes after eating an enormous meal. Sadly, most of this single use tableware ends up in landfills — in fact, paper products make up 28% of all trash sent to landfills each year according to the EPA.

An easy (and cheaper) solution is to use your own dishes and cutlery. If you don't have enough for everyone, ask your guests to bring some extra. Also, instead of using plastic bags or plastic wrap for leftovers, encourage guests to bring their own containers and/or invest in reusable beeswax wrap — both will help cut down on your overall waste. 

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