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The Gamut

The Gamut

The Gamut

Spread holiday cheer by giving back over the break

Thanksgiving in a Box: Food drives across Southern California distribute boxes of non-perishable, seasonal goods to homeless and underserved communities, bringing a hearty Thanksgiving dinner to everyone, regardless of status. (Photo by Preston Keres)

Though Thanksgiving usually commemorates the first, much-needed break of the year, it also signifies the season of gratitude — and there’s no better way to celebrate than by helping others in need. For the holiday season, give into the spirit of giving with these festive community service events across Orange and LA County!

Big Sunday Thanksgiving Stuffing Event

Drive up to Baldwin Hills Elementary School, just 30 minutes from Oxford, to take part in this annual festival of gratitude! The annual Thanksgiving Stuffing Event, taking place Nov. 22 this year, aims to assemble and distribute 3,500 Thanksgiving-themed canned food bags to underserved families across Southern Los Angeles. Simply showing up allows volunteers to partake in a free community breakfast, as well as the potential for students to earn community service hours.

Operation Warm Wishes

Lasting from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, this Tustin-based event located at Peppertree Park boasts a free three-course Thanksgiving feast with unlimited desserts alongside live music, dedicated kids’ crafts, and various amenities in which volunteers can lend a hand. From free haircuts to dog grooming, Operation Warm Wishes offers exciting, unconventional activities for anyone to help out with.

Mary’s Kitchen

Though not necessarily Thanksgiving-specific, soup kitchens are always excellent opportunities to assist those in need. Mary’s Kitchen in Anaheim not only distributes hygienic and food packages to the homeless, but also serves free, piping hot meals from Monday through Saturday. Sign up for shifts, which are a minimum of two hours long, on their website, and give back to the community even outside of the break.

Jingle Bell Run 

Stay fit while having fun during Christmas break with the Jingle Bell Run in Anaheim! A fundraiser for arthritis awareness and research, this 5K race is the perfect chance to deck out in festive wear while running for a cause. Starting at 8 a.m. on Dec. 2, participants may run timed or untimed around the Angels Stadium in jingle bells or reindeer antlers, or simply walk for a cheaper donation. Be sure to register as soon as possible: prices spike to $50 on the day of the event!

USPS Operation Santa Claus

Perfect for those looking to follow in Santa Claus’s footsteps, the United States Postal Service is offering the opportunity to become a kid’s very own Saint Nick. Choose a child to “adopt” from a variety of wishlists and simply prepare and pack the gift by Dec. 18. Participants may also write back letters as Santa alongside the gifts to bring even more magical joy.

Lounging around and enjoying temporary freedom over the holiday break may be one’s first instinct, but it’s important to recognize the essence of these festive times: spreading gratitude. Whether it’s participating in a food drive or simply spending time with family, embody the holiday spirit by extending cheer across the community.

About the Contributor
Haley Nguyen, Arts & Entertainment Editor
Haley Nguyen is a M.I.D. (majestic, intelligent, and delicious) junior and is going into her third year of Gamut. For this 2023-2024 school year, she will be Gamut’s A&E editor as “it’s more interesting than the other sections” and is looking forward to getting to know the new additions to the Gamut family. Haley is also involved in Key Club and VSA (Vietnamese Student Association), which she danced for at the annual International Show. Aside from school, she is super big on typology such as MBTI and is an ENFP, a Word Hunt Fiend, and a chronic afterschool napper. Her prized possession is her light blue HydroFlask, which you might see her carrying around. Although it’s dented, can’t stand up straight, has a hole at the bottom, and more, she treasures it as it’s been with her through thick and thin since seventh grade.