15 ways to give back around DC this holiday season

WASHINGTON — ‘Tis the season for giving. If you’re looking for a way to give back to the D.C.-area community, whether through time or turkeys, here are some ideas.

The 25th Project does something special for the homeless at least once a month on the 25th, sometimes more than that. Photo from a breakfast on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. (Courtesy Jay Herriott/The 25th Project) 
The 25th Project feeds the homeless in Northern Virginia and D.C. every Thanksgiving. Founder Jay Herriott says they are looking for food donations such as turkey, ham, stuffing, cookies and water. They also need folks to drive volunteers to and from Burke Community church, which is where donated food will be plated into meals and loaded into vehicles for delivery. Food will be delivered to shelters in Northern Virginia as well as the District, “but we’ll also meet them in the streets by their tent, or where they’re staying,” Herriott tells WTOP. Their goal is to make and distribute 600 meals this Thanksgiving, and even more on Christmas. To donate food or volunteer time on Thanksgiving, sign up on their website.  On Nov. 25, The 25th Project will gather empty propane tanks from their homeless friends, refill and redistribute them. They’re looking for donations for that project as well. The 25th Project does something special for the homeless at least once a month on the 25th, sometimes more than that. Photo from a breakfast on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. (Courtesy Jay Herriott/The 25th Project) (Courtesy Jay Herriott/The 25th Project)
This Oct. 17, 2011 photo shows pumpkin pie with whipped cream in Concord, N.H. This recipe, from Rocco DiSpirito, can be made a day in advance of your Thanksgiving feast.    (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
Food & Friends  Need a pie for your own Thanksgiving dinner? Consider purchasing one from Food & Friends, an organization that makes and delivers meals to people facing life-threatening illnesses, such as HIV/AIDS and cancer. Each pie purchased through the Slice of Life sale helps Food & Friends provide a full day of meals to roughly 3,000 clients each year. Pies will be available for pick up Nov. 20 from locations throughout D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Check to see the volunteer opportunities leading up to Thanksgiving and on Thanksgiving Day, and learn more about volunteering beyond the holidays. (AP Photo) (ASSOCIATED PRESS/Matthew Mead)
Courtesy SOME
SOME There are plenty of holiday giving opportunities at SOME (So Others Might Eat). Each year, the community-based organization serves more than 400,000 meals to hungry men, women and children, so food donations are always welcome. (SOME has a list of needed pantry items on its website, along with drop-off locations and times.) SOME is also collecting Thanksgiving dinner baskets — filled with items such as stuffing, gravy and sweet potatoes — for families in need on Nov. 19, and it’s hosting a shoe box gift drive through Dec. 7. (Courtesy SOME) (Scott D. Eldridge)
RICHMOND, CA - NOVEMBER 19:  Donated turkeys sit in a box at the Bay Area Rescue Mission on November 19, 2012 in Richmond, California. Days ahead of Thanksgiving, the Bay Area Rescue Mission received a donation of 320 turkeys and 60 hams from local business Bay Alarm that will be used to feed a holiday meal to needy and underpriviledged people.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Central Union Mission  Help Central Union Mission help the homeless this season. The organization is in need of frozen or fresh, uncooked turkeys — it’s about 550 turkeys short this year. Drop off your turkey donations until Nov. 19. There’s also a Thanksgiving Food Drive until Nov. 19, and suggested items include stuffing, 5 to 10 pounds of potatoes or sweet potatoes, and canned or fresh vegetables, among other food items. Other current drives include “feed my family,” a clothing drive (seasonal attire is appreciated, especially as the weather gets colder), a winter coat drive, a linen and towel drive, and the “fresh start” box program that collects shoe boxes filled with personal care supplies. Food and clothing items can be dropped off at 65 Massachusetts Ave. in Northwest D.C. from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. any day of the week. (Getty Images) (Getty Images/Justin Sullivan)
Volunteers at Miriam's Kitchen. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Miriam’s Kitchen At Miriam’s Kitchen, the goal is to end chronic homelessness — and it all starts with a meal. If you’re looking to volunteer, you’re asked to commit to one shift per month on an ongoing basis, and you have to attend an orientation before you start helping out. Sign-up information is available on the website. And, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Nov. 19 and Nov. 20, Miriam’s Kitchen is collecting frozen turkeys. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Volunteers Share Food to the Poor to Relieve Hunger: Charity concept (Getty Images/iStockphoto/kuarmungadd)
Shepherd’s Table  Based in Silver Spring, Maryland, Shepherd’s Table aims to tackle hunger and homelessness in Montgomery County. Meals are served daily, and other services provided include an eye clinic and access to gently used clothes. For those who are looking to give their time, they can volunteer to help in meal service, food pickup and more. And, if you’re looking to donate, you can certainly give money or give items such as personal care products, silverware and even stamps. Check out the Amazon wish list for more ideas. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/kuarmungadd) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/kuarmungadd)
In this photograph taken on Friday, May 22, 2009, dented cans of soup and other canned goods sit on shelves at the Friday Store in Arvada, Colo. Sales at the suburban Denver store have surged in recent months, mirroring the trend at so-called salvage grocers nationwide, as the recession makes frugal living appealing to more Americans. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Martha’s Table  Martha’s Table provides food, clothing, child care and other supportive programs to families throughout D.C. This holiday season, the organization is in need of food donations that are not holiday specific, since the food is distributed throughout the year. Canned vegetables, soup, beans and fruit are all needed, as are dry beans, brown rice, whole grain elbow macaroni and cereal. Martha’s Table accepts food donations at 2114 14th St. NW, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Clothing, baby items and technology items can also be donated, but first, check out Martha’s Table donation guidelines for those items. (AP Photo) (ASSOCIATED PRESS/David Zalubowski)
There's a lot more than turkey going on there. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/Erin Donalson)
Bread for the City  Bread for the City serves low-income D.C. residents by providing a number of services, including medical care and food programs. The annual “holiday helpings” campaign has a goal this year of giving a “turkey and all the trimmings” to 9,000 D.C. families. To do that, Bread for the City is asking for donations as low as $32 to give a holiday meal to a family of four. If you’re looking to make a food donation of your own, check out the organization’s guidelines. And, if you’re looking to donate your time, there are a number of volunteer opportunities that go beyond food service. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/Erin Donalson) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/Erin Donalson)
WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 24:  Food collected for Archbishop Carroll High School's annual food drive program is seen November 24, 2002 in Washington, DC. Students, faculty and parents of the school collected thousands of pounds of food for the needy in the Washington, D.C. area. The food is being delivered to 150 families and local shelters.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Capital Area Food Bank  The Capital Area Food Bank collects food items around the holidays that last many months into the new year. This year, you can help by dropping off donations (most-wanted items include peanut butter, low-sodium canned vegetables, canned or dried beans, hot and cold cereal, and grains) or by hosting your own food drive. The Capital Area Food Bank also has the option to host a digital food drive for the holidays. (Getty Images) (Getty Images/Alex Wong)
(Getty Images/iStockphoto/MachineHeadz)
Arlington Food Assistance Center  The Arlington Food Assistance Center is looking for drivers who can volunteer to pickup food and people who can help the center weekday mornings or early afternoons. Check out the current openings for volunteers here. The center is also running a “hope against hunger” campaign with the goal of raising $25,000 until Dec. 31. According to the center’s website, “A donation of just $25 will sponsor one family with a dinner centered by a turkey for Thanksgiving or a roaster chicken for the December holidays.” Just over $6,900 has been raised as of Nov. 14. If you’re thinking about making food donations, here’s what the center is looking for. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/MachineHeadz) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/MachineHeadz)
Bright mittens and socks with an ornament on a background of a stone wall
N Street Village  N Street Village provides services for homeless women in the D.C. area. This holiday season, you can show your support for the organization by donating items that are currently on the center’s wish list on Amazon, such as towels, underwear, sweatpants, socks, personal care items and more. (Thinkstock) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/Bontanadines)
Thrive DC  This time of year, Thrive DC is in need of coats, hats, scarves, blankets and gloves to give to homeless clients that visit the organization every day. Thrive will give out warm clothing on Friday, Dec. 7; Friday, Jan. 11; and Friday, Feb. 8 — donations are needed the Monday before each event. There’s also an Amazon wish list for needed items. New socks, thermals and underwear are also needed, and items can be dropped off at the nonprofit’s Columbia Heights location at 1525 Newton St. NW from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. But, give them a call at 202-503-1533 so they know you’re coming. (WTOP/Rachel Nania) (WTOP/Rachel Nania)
(Courtesy NOVA Relief Center)
NOVA Relief Center  An annual effort since 2013 to provide warmth to Syrian refugees through donations of coats and blankets is already underway in Northern Virginia. NOVA Relief Center, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life of refugees, organizes the drive. The drive runs from now until Dec. 8. The donations will be sent to three refugee camps in Jordan. There are drop-off locations in Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties, and Arlington and Alexandria. Find more information on NOVA Relief Center’s website. Read more: “Northern Va. coat, blanket drive aims to provide warmth to Syrian refugees” by WTOP’s Dick Uliano  (Courtesy NOVA Relief Center) (Courtesy NOVA Relief Center)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - NOVEMBER 13:  Two donated Foster Farms turkeys are displayed on a table at the SF-Marin Food Bank on November 13, 2015 in San Francisco, California. Foster Farms donated 640 Thanksgiving turkeys to the SF-Marin Food Bank ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
DC Central Kitchen  There are several ways you can help DC Central Kitchen fight hunger through the holidays. The organization suggests hosting a food drive around specific items it has listed, including pasta, items for baking and large containers of vegetable oil. And, if you want to host a turkey drive, get in contact with DC Central Kitchen first. Drop-off hours are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends at 425 2nd St. NW. Trying to volunteer your time? Take a look at what’s available here. And, if you want to help beyond the holidays, DC Central Kitchen also takes donations. (Getty Images) (Getty Images/Justin Sullivan)
Close-up of elderly woman holding walking stick in the nursing house
The Holiday Project The Holiday Project gets volunteers together to visit people in nursing homes, hospitals and other long-term care facilities in outings across the country through the holiday season. On its website, the project details its first visit in 1972 on Christmas Day to patients at a San Francisco hospital. To get involved, check out the visits they have planned around the region — which, in these groupings, includes Delaware and West Virginia — and find out how to start volunteering here. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/KatarzynaBialasiewicz)
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The 25th Project does something special for the homeless at least once a month on the 25th, sometimes more than that. Photo from a breakfast on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. (Courtesy Jay Herriott/The 25th Project) 
This Oct. 17, 2011 photo shows pumpkin pie with whipped cream in Concord, N.H. This recipe, from Rocco DiSpirito, can be made a day in advance of your Thanksgiving feast.    (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
Courtesy SOME
RICHMOND, CA - NOVEMBER 19:  Donated turkeys sit in a box at the Bay Area Rescue Mission on November 19, 2012 in Richmond, California. Days ahead of Thanksgiving, the Bay Area Rescue Mission received a donation of 320 turkeys and 60 hams from local business Bay Alarm that will be used to feed a holiday meal to needy and underpriviledged people.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Volunteers at Miriam's Kitchen. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Volunteers Share Food to the Poor to Relieve Hunger: Charity concept (Getty Images/iStockphoto/kuarmungadd)
In this photograph taken on Friday, May 22, 2009, dented cans of soup and other canned goods sit on shelves at the Friday Store in Arvada, Colo. Sales at the suburban Denver store have surged in recent months, mirroring the trend at so-called salvage grocers nationwide, as the recession makes frugal living appealing to more Americans. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
There's a lot more than turkey going on there. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/Erin Donalson)
WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 24:  Food collected for Archbishop Carroll High School's annual food drive program is seen November 24, 2002 in Washington, DC. Students, faculty and parents of the school collected thousands of pounds of food for the needy in the Washington, D.C. area. The food is being delivered to 150 families and local shelters.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
(Getty Images/iStockphoto/MachineHeadz)
Bright mittens and socks with an ornament on a background of a stone wall
(Courtesy NOVA Relief Center)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - NOVEMBER 13:  Two donated Foster Farms turkeys are displayed on a table at the SF-Marin Food Bank on November 13, 2015 in San Francisco, California. Foster Farms donated 640 Thanksgiving turkeys to the SF-Marin Food Bank ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Close-up of elderly woman holding walking stick in the nursing house

WTOP’s Rachel Nania, Dan Friedell, Dick Uliano and Teta Alim contributed to this report. 


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