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How To Volunteer At A Food Kitchen Without Seeming Self-Righteous

Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for everything that you’ve got — and to show how grateful you are by eating everything that you’ve got. But it’s also important to give back to the community, and the traditional classic is to feed the less fortunate at a soup kitchen. There’s a right way and wrong way to do it, though, so let’s take a closer look at how to be of service without acting all high and mighty.


Remember Why You’re There


Photo: Thanksgiving

The number one thing is that you’re giving back, and these people could use your help. Try to have a good attitude and help them get a healthy meal. After all, it might not be everyday that they get to eat this well, so don’t take it personal if they seem a little cranky.


Listen To The People You’re Helping


Photo: Salvation Army Alabama

When you see homeless people on the street, it can be easy to disregard them. But when you’re dealing with them one-on-one, you’ll come to see that they’re all people with hopes and aspirations, even if they are down on their luck. And, if you treat them with dignity, you’ll get a lot more out of the experience while bringing a little extra light to their day.


Put Your Phone Away


Photo: Son of the South

Nothing seems less considerate of the people you’re trying to help than flaunting your own advantages in front of them. If you’re handling a personal/family emergency, that’s one thing, but Facebook will be waiting for you when you’re done pitching in and helping out.

Absolutely NO selfies


Photo: Wikipedia

As a sub-section of both remembering why you’re there and putting your phone away, a huge part of not being self-righteous is not bragging about your efforts to help out. A selfie of you wearing a hairnet that’s tagged #humble is probably the most egregious misstep imaginable. Instead of posting on social, try reaching out to your friends personally to encourage them to pitch in as well.


The Giving Doesn’t Have To End On Thanksgiving


Photo: The Fun Times Guide

While it’s important to give whatever you can, it’s also one of the most popular days of the year for people to donate their time. It can be even more meaningful and impactful to help out the less fortunate on other days of the year. After all, they’re not just hungry on the holidays (End of guilt trip).


Dumped Before Her Wedding, Bride Turns Reception Into Dinner For The Homeless


When a groom got cold feet before his wedding, his bride-to-be donated her special day to the homeless.

Dana Olsen, 29, was faced with a difficult situation on what would have been one of the most memorable days of her life. Olsen and her fiance, who were both born in Seattle, planned to say their vows to one another at Sodo Park, a fancy hall venue they booked together for their wedding day in Seattle.

According to the Seattle Times, the entire reception had been paid for and the preparations were ready, however, when the groom got cold feet, Olsen was forced to call off the wedding. Unable to request a refund, Olsen decided to give her special day away to homeless families.


Olsen remained positive and told her best friend and maid of honor, Katie McCary:

“I’m going to have a bad day. Other people might as well have a good night.”

Many of the needy families in attendance at the reception were from Mary’s Place, a homeless shelter and non-profit. A team of hair stylists and make-up artists from Lala’s Cuts salon in Queen Anne generously provided make-overs for those attending the charity event. Nearly 100 homeless individuals and their families were invited to the reception that included a delicious feast, a live band and dancing.

Olsen said her family was dumbfounded as to why the wedding was called off. McCary said the bride-to-be was “devastated” by the turn of events, but that “she is very strong.”


With an entire non-refundable wedding reception on her hands, Dana asked her mother, Karen Olsen, to donate it to the neediest. Her mother said of her daughter:

“I’m proud of her.”


The family got the idea of providing the special evening for the homeless from Olsen’s father who volunteers as a cook at Compass Center shelter. Turning down her girlfriends’ suggestion to go partying on Saturday, Olsen decided to go hiking on the six-mile Crest Trail with her father in Palm Springs, California.

Her mother told the Times:

“He’s a big teddy bear. He’s the perfect guy for her to be with today.”