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Giving Thanks, Giving Back

If gratitude unlocks the fullness of life, then volunteering provides another key. As environmentalists and women striving to make the world a better place to live in, most of us recognize the need to give back to the world. But it can be easy to overlook what’s right in front of your eyes, like the many people in need in this very community.

Instead of just giving thanks this year, you can take it further by giving back – to your home, to your planet, and especially to your surrounding community. As you gather for Thanksgiving on Thursday and think about what you are grateful for, here are some ways to give back to your community as well.

Give Your Time

There are many different outlets to volunteer in the D.C. area and luckily, a lot of those are outdoors

Casey Trees has long given DC EcoWomen good opportunities to volunteer, with many opportunities year-round.  The Anacostia Watershed Society also schedules environmental restoration and preservation projects, like restoring the wetlands, or planting and maintaining native species. There’s nothing like the instant gratification of seeing your hard work immediately come to fruition, in the form of a newly planted tree.

You can also make the world instantly more beautiful by participating in a cleanup; the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust offers opportunities to fight invasive plant species and cleanup projects in local parks and communities. And the National Parks and the National Mall are always looking for volunteers to help with maintenance and cleanup efforts, to preserve our nation’s treasures.

Further, the United Way of the National Capital Area provides recycling drives that rely on volunteers, and the U.S. National Arboretum could always use more gardeners and tour guides. There are so many fun ways to volunteer, it might be hard to pick just one!

Give A Thanksgiving Meal

Providing a meal for those in need on Thanksgiving Day is possibly the most common way to give, but no less important. You can make sure no one goes hungry on this day by donating to Food and Friends, or helping the Capital Area Food Bank‘s  Brown Bag program deliver Thanksgiving food baskets to needy senior citizens.

Search Online

If you’re having trouble finding the perfect way to volunteer, you can try using a website that will match your abilities to the best opportunities, like VolunteerMatch. According to Volunteering in America, DC is ranked 9th in the US for volunteering, so you won’t be alone in your efforts!

Giving Tuesday

Don’t forget, DC EcoWomen’s end-of-year fundraiser is coming up, once again participating in Giving Tuesday this year. Head to on December 3rd to donate to your favorite local nonprofit. If you’ve ever benefited from our EcoHours, workshops, mentor dinners, book clubs, volunteer events, or even just from being on the community listserv, we hope you’ll give back on December 3rd.  This year, donors can even choose to receive a limited edition DC EcoWomen t-shirt as a thank you for their donation or simply donate directly to DC EcoWomen without receiving a gift.

This year, in the final days of calm before the holiday storm — before finding (or making) the perfect gift and planning a trip to see your loved ones —  find the opportunity to give back.

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