Thanksgiving Community Service Projects for Kids Bring More Meaning to the Holidays

There are many Thanksgiving community service project ideas for schools, Girl Scouts, and youth groups. During this time of year we tend to think of others who are in need. While many organizations typically have food drives to help feed those who may otherwise go hungry, there are other community service projects that can help young people make a difference in the lives of others.

Thanksgiving Community Service Projects for Kids


Image from Pixabay and altered by the author in Canva 

Donate Halloween Candy to our Troops

One Thanksgiving community service project idea for schools, Girl Scouts, and youth groups is to donate leftover Halloween candy. This is an actual project that my own children will be doing this coming November.

Candy will be collected right after Halloween and stored in a central location with each teacher’s class having their own separate bag. One afternoon in November PTA volunteers will come in to each classroom with white paper bags and ribbon. The children will decorate the bags with magic markers and fill each one with candy. The bag will be hole punched at the top and tied with a festive ribbon.

Each classroom has a carton in which to put the bags. Volunteers will take these cartons to one of our local organizations that mails packages to our troops on a regular basis.

Collect Paper Goods and Personal Care Items

Another service project idea for schools, Girl Scouts and youth groups is to collect essential paper products for those in need. While food banks give nutrition that sustains, people also have other basic needs. We may take for granted something as simple as toilet paper, but those on a fixed income have to figure out how to pay for this most essential item.

In order to feel good about yourself no matter what your economic situation is, you need to take care of your personal hygiene. For this project, schools can assign each grade level or each classroom a particular item to collect. For example, kindergarten can collect deodorant for women, first grade can collect deodorant for men, second grade can collect razors and shaving cream for both men and women, third grade can collect shampoo fourth-grade can collect conditioner, and fifth grade can collect brushes and combs. You can even assign one room for men’s items, another for women, and a third for children so an equal amount is collected.

Gently Used Coat Drive

If you live in a climate with cold weather, you know the importance of having a coat that keeps you warm from the harsh winter weather. For lower income people, having a warm coat may not be possible, especially for their children.

An easy community service project idea is to collect gently used or even brand-new coats. If the school is going to do this project, the collection is easy to organize. Simply provide cartons and label them with different sizes and different genders. Once the cartons or full, they are already sorted and ready to be delivered to the chosen organization.

New Hat, Gloves, Scarf and Sock Drive

Have a Glove DriveCredit:

Photo from Morguefile

New hats, gloves, scarves and socks are easy to collect and anyone can contribute to this essential clothing drive. Stores everywhere have these items for just a few dollars. Once again each classroom can have its own carton for depositing the donations. When the accessory drive is over, PTA volunteers can deliver it where it is most needed.

Pajama and Slipper Drive

At the end of the long day, there is nothing more comfortable than slipping into a warm pair of pajamas and putting your feet into a pair of cozy slippers. Once again, those who have plenty may take for granted something as simple as a pair of warm pajamas.

For this Thanksgiving community service project, schools, Girl Scouts, and youth groups can have an open bin in a central area where pajama and slipper donations can be made.

Collect DVDs for Children’s Hospitals

Another easy community service project idea is to have families donate DVDs that they no longer use. Many children’s hospitals and Ronald McDonald Houses need viewing material for their patients. A large bin is all that is needed for this project and a volunteer to get it to place where it is being donated.

Collect Items for Animal Shelters

Thanksgiving Service ProjectsCredit:

Photo from Morguefile

Children love animals. Families consider their pets to be as important as their children. Every community has animal shelters full of unwanted pets that need to be taken care of until they can find a home. Many of the shelters depend upon donations from the community to keep themselves open.

This service idea for Thanksgiving has children collecting items that the local shelter needs. simply call your local shelter or visit their website and find out what they need. Create a list and send home with the children.

Diaper and Formula Drive

For people on a fixed income, diapers for their babies and formula for those are not nursing can cost a small fortune. A community diaper and formula drive to help those in need is truly a wonderful thing to do for families with young children.

Because these are higher end items, you may not receive many donations. If this is the case, ask each child in the school could bring one to three dollars, so volunteers can go out and purchase these items to donate. Coupons for diapers and formula can also be donated to help defray the cost.

Donate Time to a Senior Center

Helping HandCredit:


Photo from Morguefile

Here is an idea that  can actually be done year-round. Organizations can adopt a local senior center to visit at special times of year. Children can play games, do crafts, give a presentation or play, or simply sit and talk with older people who may not otherwise have a visitor. With so many families having relatives scattered across the country, many children only see their grandparents a few times a year. Children can adopt a grandparent and forge a special relationship that will be cherished.

These Thanksgiving community service project ideas for schools, Girl Scouts, and youth groups can give new meaning to the holiday. By shifting the focus off of ourselves in helping those who need it most, we show our children the true meaning of what it is to be thankful.