Meetup Spotlights: Thanksgiving Edition
Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and there’s so much that we’re thankful for. Mostly, as we enter this holiday season, we’re thankful for the Meetup community—for the 20 million members and organizers bringing community to life in neighborhoods around the world. And this Thanksgiving, over 300 Meetups will be giving back to those neighborhoods, volunteering their time and energy in the spirit of the season. We caught up with organizers behind four of those Meetups to learn more.
In DC, the Beautiful Brown Girls Brunch Club Meetup will be serving up a meal at a local homeless mission and doing some holiday decorating to boot. “When the holidays came around we wanted to make sure we weren’t just thinking of ourselves, but also providing opportunities for our members to give back,” explains organizer Christina. “Our Meetup’s mission is to empower and build each other up, and we take that to heart outside of our membership, as well. It’s all about loving our community, loving ourselves, and loving each other.”
Also in DC, the Embassy Events in DC for Young Professionals Meetup will be preparing, packaging, and delivering meals to elderly people in the community. “One thing I’ve learned about charity,” says Greg, the Meetup’s organizer, “is that people can give money and that’s great, but what they really enjoy is going out into the community to do things.” Volunteering, Greg explains, allows his members to connect with their charitable-minded peers. “People want to make friends with people who think like them, who are willing to give up time on their holiday to do something for others—it shows there are people out there who care.”
Across the country, the Long Beach Volunteer and Meet People Meetup, organized by Gina, will be delivering Thanksgiving meals to homebound and elderly people in the community. “The holidays can be really lonely for people,” says Gina. Thanks to Meetups like Gina’s, they’ll be a little less lonely in cities across the country. “Not only do these homebound, elderly people get a meal,” Gina explains, “but they get some face-to-face time.” She’s quick to point out that her members benefit from the interactions too. “It makes you feel good to do something good for others—everyone wins.”
A few miles away, the L.A. Art, Music Lovers and More Meetup will be serving Thanksgiving dinner to the city’s homeless population in Pasadena’s Central Park. Mary, the Meetup’s organizer, believes there’s no better time than the holidays to get members out volunteering. “People feel generous of spirit during Thanksgiving time,” explains Mary. “I think a lot of time with major holidays, people feel like they need to connect. They just want to find other people, be compassionate, and connect with another human being again.” Volunteering, Mary believes, prompts important self-reflection on the part of the volunteers. “It’s all about giving thanks and being grateful for what you have,” she says, “for just being alive.”
After they finish up serving, Mary’s Meetup will sit down to Thanksgiving dinner together in the park. “There’s always so much leftover food, and it’s great to be able to sit down with some of the other people who are there,” she says. “We need to reach out and get to know who’s sitting next to us. Life is too short—there are so many great people, so many interesting people.”
Want to give back to your community this holiday season? Get involved with a Meetup near you.