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Thanksgiving Is for Everyone

Little Helping Hands uses pie to demonstrate that service can be sweet

By Melanie Haupt, Fri., Nov. 8, 2013

Thanksgiving Is for Everyone
Photo by John Anderson

Childhood is a blissfully narcissistic era. Kids don't have very many demands on their time and energy, and when they're very young, they're still developing empathy for other people even though they don't yet have the tools available to them to act on their compassion for others. That's where Little Helping Hands comes in. Founded in June 2009 by Marissa Vogel, the Austin nonprofit helps to connect families with opportunities to give back to their communities. "Our mission is to inspire community service in young kids so that it becomes a part of who they are," says Vogel.

On Saturday, Nov. 23, Little Helping Hands will commemorate Family Volunteer Day, a national day of service, by inviting families to assemble Thanksgiving dessert bags to be distributed to low-income residents living in properties operated by Foundation Communities, a nonprofit dedicated to making affordable housing accessible to struggling families. "These are typically one-parent families that are every month trying to make ends meet," Vogel explains, "and we want to be able to give this to them at the kickoff of the holiday season, which is how I like to think of Family Volunteer Day."

Volunteer families, working in shifts, will assemble 96 care packages containing all the necessary ingredients to make a pumpkin pie, all the way down to measuring bulk spices according to the recipe included in the bags. The kids can then make Thanksgiving centerpieces and greeting cards to send along with the dessert parcels, which will be distributed in advance of the holiday.

Taking care of the pie, which is often the most anticipated part of Thanksgiving dinner, is just one way that families can help brighten the holidays in the Austin area. Interested families with children ages 3 and up can explore the Little Helping Hands Activity Calendar at www.littlehelpinghands.org/volunteer/volunteer-calendar and sign up for a service project that suits their schedules and interests.

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