5 Volunteer Opportunities During Thanksgiving Break


Malia Wong

Silverswords are encouraged to participate in service-learning opportunities in the Oʻahu community to enrich their college experience.

As the holiday season approaches, so does the finish line for fall semester. There is so much to look forward to.

If you are spending Turkey Day away from family, it can feel dispiriting and lonely. Instead of spending the holiday break in your dorm, consider volunteering your time to benefit the community. After all, Thanksgiving is more than just home-cooked meals and food comas; it’s a day to give gratitude and reflect on the blessings of life.

While giving back is meaningful year-round, most people feel especially compelled by the spirit of giving. Here is a list of volunteer opportunities around Oʻahu and other ways you can lend a hand this Thanksgiving break.

Sustainable Coastlines Hawaiʻi
Did you know that Sustainable Coastlines is located right next to our campus on Waialae Avenue across the street from Saint Louis Drive-In? The coastal stewardship organization is hosting “Giving Tuesday” on Nov. 30 for an “all-day live virtual event featuring talk stories, education sessions, and a live beach cleanup.” The livestream event will be 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on InstagramFacebook, and TikTok.

If you are interested in offering money instead of time on “Giving Tuesday”, all donations will be doubled up to $20,000 contributed by Saalt and Honolulu Medspa, according to an email sent by Sustainable Coastlines Hawaiʻi.

Visit the Sustainable Coastlines website for more information and stay updated through Sustainable Coastlines Hawaiʻi Instagram page.

The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army’s Hawaiian & Pacific Islands division holds an annual “Thanksgiving Day Dinner” where volunteers serve a sit-down, family-style meal for 2,000 guests in Honolulu. This year, however, the weeklong event is being paused due to Covid-19 and has been modified to community outreach events. Below is a list of The Salvation Army’s Thanksgiving volunteer activities provided by David Sayre’s “Thanksgiving Week Highlights”.

In an interview with Sayre and Major Phil Lum, the divisional commander for The Salvation Army Hawaiian & Pacific Islands, Lum acknowledged the Hawaiʻi community for their loyal support during one of its largest events of the year.

“Once again, with the generous help of corporate partners, volunteers, advisory boards, staff and Salvation Army officers, we’ve been able to shift our traditional Thanksgiving observances around the state to reach thousands of those in need in our island communities,” said Major Phil Lum, divisional commander for The Salvation Army Hawaiian & Pacific Islands. “We humbly ask the community for their continued support and encourage those in need of a meal to reach out to the Salvation Army Corps in their local community.”

The Salvation Army relies on volunteers for a variety of tasks during the Thanksgiving season including basic set-up, food preparation, delivering dinner and cleanup. Mentioned on The Salvation Army website, in 2019 they had the considerate support of over 850 volunteers from the local community made up of businesses, schools and clubs. Grab and friend and help support one of Hawaiʻi’s largest volunteer events of the year.

For more information on how to sign up, visit the volunteer list website or contact Leilani Diga at (808) 440-1870.

  • Honolulu

Thursday, Nov. 25

The Salvation Army Kauluwela Mission Corps, 296 N. Vineyard Blvd., Honolulu, HI 96817

The Salvation Army Kauluwela Mission Corps, along with volunteers from The Salvation Army’s Echelon Hawaiʻi, will deliver and distribute approximately 1,250 Thanksgiving bentos to those in need at various locations in Honolulu.

  • Kaneohe

Thursday, Nov. 25

The Salvation Army Kaneohe Corps, 45-175 Waikalua Rd., Kaneohe, HI 96744 and at Kaneohe District Park, 45-660 Kea‘ahala Rd., Kaneohe, HI 96744

The Salvation Army Kaneohe Corps will distribute 300 meals to those in need at the Kaneohe Corps and Kaneohe District Park between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. An additional 200 meals will be distributed along the Windward Coast and North Shore via a partnership with Project Reach. For more information, call The Salvation Army Kaneohe Corps at (808) 235-1408.

  • Kapolei/Ewa Beach

Thanksgiving Week

The Salvation Army Kroc Center Hawaiʻi, 91-3257 Kualaka‘i Parkway, Ewa Beach, HI 96706

The Salvation Army Kroc Center Hawaiʻi will distribute approximately 1,000 Thanksgiving meals to seniors, veterans and homeless individuals in West and Central Oʻahu during Thanksgiving week. Those who will be receiving meals have already been identified. For more information, call The Salvation Army Kroc Center Hawaiʻi at (808) 682-5505.

Meals on Wheels
Do you have a car on the island? Meals on Wheels is in need of drivers to deliver hot meals to elderly, homebound seniors throughout Oʻahu.

On the morning of the scheduled delivery, you’ll attend an orientation to guide you through the process. Names, addresses, food, and an insulated tote bag to transport the meals will be supplied. Additionally, directions from the kitchen to each destination and any special instructions will be provided by Meals on Wheels.

Contact Brad Akamu at (808) 784-2756 or [email protected], or visit the Meals on Wheels website. Download the volunteer application here.

Hawai‘i Foodbank
People across the islands are battling food insecurity and relying on Hawaiʻi Foodbank to sustain themselves and their families. As a result of Covid-19, businesses are struggling to stay open, many kūpuna are still advised to stay home, and others are learning how to deal with significantly modified work schedules. As a result, the Hawaiʻi Foodbank depends on people like you to secure everyone with access to the food they need. Volunteers are an integral foundation to the Hawaiʻi Foodbank operations and services.

To sign up for a volunteer opportunity, click here. If you have questions email Hawaiʻi Foodback at volunteer@hawaiifoodbank.org​.

808 Cleanups
From Nov. 24 to Nov. 27, the nonprofit organization 808 Cleanups will hold a variety of community service events all around Oʻahu that are open to the public. The organization is committed to restoring the natural landscapes of Hawaiʻi by empowering it’s volunteers out in the field. Tools, gloves and other supplies are provided by 808 Cleanups. Closed-toe shoes and sunscreen are recommended. Mask wearing and social distancing protocols are required.

Below is a schedule provided by 808 Cleanups of events during the Thanksgiving Break. Send an RSVP to the following: 808 Cleanups App, email [email protected], DM on Instagram, or reply to the Facebook group post. When your RSVP is confirmed, sign this waiver before attending the session.

  • Mālama Muliwaiʻōlena

Wednesday, Nov. 24

3:30 pm – 5:30 pm

Come one, come all to restorate the coast of Waimānalo. Muliwaiʻōlena, a Native Hawaiian cultural site, has a long and rich history. Removing invasive species along the shoreline will be the primary motive, which allows the reintroduction of native plants back into the habitat. Trash and marine debris will also be removed as needed from the coastline and along the waterway.

Please RSVP to Kimeona Kane at [email protected] or call (808) 398-8989.

  • Nimitz Beach Restoration

Wednesday, Nov. 24

4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Clear invasive species such as koa haole and remove rubbish to make space for native plants. The site leader will provide the group with multiple activity options for all individuals based on age, physical ability and interest. When arriving, look for the orange truck parked along Coral Sea Road oceanside.

Please contact Michael Loftin at [email protected] or call (808) 892-3464.

  • Puʻu o Kaimuki Restoration

Friday, Nov. 26

4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Conveniently located near campus, come restore the Kaimuki community and represent Chaminade as a steward of the land. Park along Ocean View Drive or Kaimuki Avenue.

Please contact Michael Loftin at [email protected] or call (808) 892-3464.

  • Mokulē‘ia Army Beach Cleanup

Saturday, Nov. 27

8:00 am – 11:00 am

Pack a sun hat and join 808 Cleanups on Saturday for a beach cleanup. Prepare for little and large debris from illegal dumping, as well as possible pallet bonfires.

Please contact Michael Loftin at [email protected] or call (808) 892-3464.