The Bowery Mission is always looking for volunteers to help serve food on Thanksgiving Day.

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Giving Your Time on Thanksgiving

Helping others will be the highlight of your holiday, guaranteed.

The New York Cares Web site is a great place to start if you've never volunteered in the city before. After you attend their one-hour general orientation, you're free to choose from hundreds of opportunities each month via an online project calendar. During Thanksgiving, New York Cares needs lots of assistance for its flagship annual coat drive.

The Bowery Mission (227 Bowery) needs your help throughout the entire long weekend. Sign up here to serve meals at their main facility. If you're more ambitious, you can help bring food to the homeless at parks throughout the city.

New York Presbyterian Hospital and NYU Medical Center both have excellent volunteer programs. Log on to their websites to check out the opportunities and to sign up to help.

Pssst! Not all volunteering has to be so serious. If you're a Tchaiskovsky lover, you ought to know that the New York City Ballet uses volunteers to staff its Nutcracker gift shop during the holiday season [source: NYC Ballet].

And if you can't get away to volunteer your time, the Mayor's Volunteer Center has a complete roundup of places to donate material goods including books, blood, bicycles, food, clothing, art supplies, school supplies, sports equipment ... even animal toys [source: NYC Government].

Being away from home doesn't mean you have to go to all of the typical tourist traps. There's no city in the world busier than New York City. All you have to do now is start planning your weekend. Happy travels!

For more information on New York City, Thanksgiving and related topics, check out the links on the next page.