How to Help Families in Need This Thanksgiving

Here are a few last-minute ways to give -- food, time or money -- this holiday season

Recent nationwide cuts to our country's food stamp program -- SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) -- have made this time of year especially tough for many people.

Plus, November is an extra busy month for food banks, in part because of the holidays, Margarette Purvis, CEO of the Food Bank for New York City, told U.S. News & World Report. And also because families are feeling the squeeze from higher heating bills.

Wondering how you can help? Here are a few last-minute ways to give:

Find Your Local Food Bank

Feeding America provides a local food bank finder on their site where you can punch in your zip code and find a food bank near you. Before you donate, give them a call and see what they need -- most likely canned goods, which many food banks have run out of this year.

Ask Your Local Place of Worship

If you attend a local church, temple or other place of worship, call their office or check their website to find out if they've organized a food drive. They may need food donations or help delivering goods to locals in need. Even if you're not an active member (or even religious), it's worth reaching out to see if they need help. Many churches are entrenched in communities and can effectively get help to people in need.

Check with Your Neighbors

If you have elderly or homebound neighbors, stop by to check on their Thanksgiving plans. You may be able to help them connect with a senior center that will pick them up and serve them dinner. If you're feeling especially generous, invite them to join your family. It's also worth checking with your local senior centers to see if they need any help delivering Thanksgiving meals.

Donate Online

Your monetary donations are always appreciated, even at the last minute (plus, Christmas dinner is right around the corner). So here are a few organizations that help families and children in need during the holiday season:

Involve the Kids

If you have children, include them -- if they're old enough to understand (over the age of 5). Take them to drop off donations, or talk to them about your chosen charity, and help them understand how much they have to be thankful for.

Tanya Edwards is a contributing writer for iVillage. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

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