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Photo: Shelby Farms Park

Join in on Volunteer Odyssey’s “ThanksGivingBack” Challenge This November

*Originally published on October 20, 2021.

November is known for three big things: crunchy leaves, turkeys, and giving thanks to your community—and what better way to express your gratitude than to give back to your city!

Because of this, Volunteer Odyssey encourages you to fully fill up the month with the “ThanksGivingBack” challenge. We’ve lined up fun and accessible volunteer opportunities that take place every week in November—and we want you to try and find a place to put in work once a week *every* week throughout the entire month!

Keep reading to find some great opportunities listed here in this guide—and feel free to check out the full round-up on the calendar, and follow Volunteer Odyssey on Instagram to keep an eye for new opportunities every week!

St. Vincent de Paul, Food Mission Volunteers, Monday through Thursday (8:30AM to 11PM)

Join St. Vincent de Paul Food Mission as they serve neighbors experiencing hunger every day of the week. Volunteers are needed to help prepare and plate the hot food served. Other tasks, such as unpacking and sorting food products, may be needed to ensure that each visitor receives a quality meal. 

Sign up here!

Photo: St. Vincent De Paul Food Mission

Catholic Charities of West TN, Mobile Food Pantry, Monday through Thursday (8:30AM to 11AM)

CCWTN serves dozens of food boxes out their mobile food distribution every day. They need volunteers to help direct traffic, invite people to come through the line, record customer information, and distribute the food to neighbors in need. Volunteers are needed now more than ever!

Sign up here!

Memphis Rox, Soulsville Community Closet, Tuesdays (10AM-2PM)

Memphis Rox Climbing Gym is asking for volunteers to help assist with the operations of the Soulsville Community Closet. The closet is open one day a week, on Tuesdays from 10AM-1PM, offering all products up to 50% off retail price for visitors. Volunteers are needed to help assist customers with their shopping needs,  such as carrying or bagging purchased products.

This event is hosted indoors and masks are required. Policies have been implemented to ensure a limited number of customers are in the store at a single given time and adhere to suggested CDC guidelines.

Sign up here!

Photos: Mayor Lee Harris serving at Room in the Inn

Room in the Inn, Cleaning with a Meaning, Open Timeslots on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays 

If cleanliness brings you comfort, you can volunteer your time with Room in the Inn. You could sign up now for cleaning with a meaning to help maintain a clean and safe facility for guests at RITI who are experiencing homelessness. Pick whatever time works best for you and give back to RITI with this simple, but impactful tasks such as sweeping, mopping, replacing paper materials, wiping down surfaces, taking out trash, dusting, bathroom restocking, etc. 

Sign up here!

Kindred Place, A Kindred Night Out, November 6th with shifts throughout the day

Join Kindred Place as they raise funds to support their mission of counseling and working with families. They are looking for fun-loving, energetic volunteers to help make their Kindred Night Out event an evening to remember. This fundraiser features an outdoor movie, picnic dinner (that guests will enjoy from their cars), and more.

Food and beverages will be provided for all volunteers, and volunteers are invited to enjoy the movie before and after their shift.

Sign up here!

Carpenter Art Garden, Bike Rides, Wednesdays and Thursdays (3PM-5PM)

Volunteer to ride on the Greenline with a Carpenter Art Garden staff member and student participants. Groups range from 2-6 kids riding 3-10 miles. Volunteers are asked to bring their own helmet, bicycle and water bottle—and must be vaccinated.

CAG workshop programs provide training in bike maintenance skills, sewing, cooking, and more. It’s also home to the CAG Bike Shop, a hub for community building that operates through an open shop neighborhood bike repair hours, weekly bike rides for children, their Earn-a-Bike program, etc. 

Sign up here!

National Foundation for Women Legislators, November 7th through 10th with various shifts

Volunteer with the National Foundation for Women Legislators as they convene in Memphis for their annual conference. Their vision is to empower and inspire elected women to become thought leaders who shape America’s future.

Volunteers are needed throughout their conference to help with the registration table. This is an amazing opportunity if you are interested in politics, policy, women-focused leadership, or other related topics.

Sign up here!

Compost Fairy, Craft Food and Wine Fest, shifts throughout November 20th and 21st

Join the Compost Fairy during the Craft Food and Wine Festival, supporting and promoting zero waste initiatives. Volunteers will be working in pairs near the three-tier waste systems to help guide attendees and vendors to throw their waste in the right bin.

Volunteers will also assist in breaking down cardboard and ensuring that recyclable items are captured for recycling. There will be a review of waste systems at the beginning of each shift. This is a great opportunity to support the Compost Fairy, Church Health—who will receive the proceeds—and zero waste initiatives. 

Sign up here!

Photo: Compost Fairy

Pinecrest Camp & Retreat Center, Trail Maintenance Mondays, November 15th from 10:00 to 2:00

Join Pinecrest Camp for the perfect, socially-distanced volunteer opportunity this fall. They are smoothing trails, creating new trails, clearing up and restoring old trails, removing invasive plants and restoring wetlands around campus. Supplies will be made available, or you bring your own loppers, trimmers, rake, or shovel. This is a great opportunity to spend time in nature and give back.

Sign up here!

Shelby Farms, Starry Nights, Nightly from November 27th through January 2nd 

Starry Nights at Shelby Farms Park is a bright and fun experience, full of lights and holiday magic! This holiday event has been shining brightly for over a decade, and cruising through the lights is a long-standing holiday tradition for thousands of families.

It’s also the Park’s largest annual fundraiser. Volunteer positions at this event are critical to its success, and are an excellent way to give back to ensure that Shelby Farms Park and the Shelby Farms Greenline remain clean, green, and safe 365 days a year. Volunteers are needed to help at Starry Nights with tasks including greeting and interacting with visitors, directing traffic, assisting in the event check in areas, and spreading holiday cheer.

Sign up here!

Boys and Girls Club, Steak N Burger, November 4th with shifts throughout the day

Volunteer for the longest-running and highest grossing fundraiser of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis. Steak n’ Burger has been bringing Club members and donors together to share conversations and meals for 50 years. Guests will spend the evening getting to know Club members, seeing their many talents and celebrating their successes while enjoying an inspirational message by guest speaker, Mayor Jim Strickland.

Sign up here!

Shelby Farms Park, Buffalo 5k and Buffalo Day Celebration, November 6th and 7th with various shifts

In case you haven’t “herd,” National Bison Day is coming up on Saturday November 6th, 2021—and this year Shelby Farms Park is celebrating it with the 2021 Buffalo Run 5k and Buffalo Day Celebration.

Located on the edge of  the scenic Hyde Lake at the Event Stage and Great Lawn, the Buffalo Run 5k + Buffalo Day Celebration is a festival of music, food and family; celebrating the North American Bison as the official National Mammal of the United States. Featuring some of Memphis’ best food vendors and music, The Buffalo Run 5k + Buffalo Day Celebration is a fundraiser for the operation of Shelby Farms Park and the Shelby Farms Greenline. Volunteers are needed to make this event possible in a number of ways. 

Learn more and sign up here!

Huzzah! On the Harbor, Kayak Race Volunteers, November 6th (1:30PM-4PM)

Huzzah! on the Harbor is the first annual kayak race on Mud Island as part of the inaugural Fieldaze outdoor event festival. They are looking for volunteers to have some fun and help out with race day. If you love to be outdoors, enjoy kayaking, or want a new kind of volunteer opportunity, then look no further! 

Sign up here!

There are even more ways for you to give back to the community!

Find more volunteer opportunities with Volunteer Odyssey here.

Learn how you can give back with Memphis Animal Services here.

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