Can you believe it? Just over a week until Thanksgiving! Whether it simply be hosting a friend in your home who might be alone over the holidays to something more widespread, we all know we shouldn't wait until the holiday season to give thanks and ignite the spirit of giving. Time goes by so fast and we get so "busy" that sometimes it takes the calendar to remind us to take a moment and give back.

If you'd like to stay close to home to lend a hand, there are great ways to do it right here in the Cedar Rapids area.

Linn Community Food Bank

It's a no-brainer. You've got a few extra cans of food cluttering up your pantry that others could use, so drop them by at 310 5th St. SE in Cedar Rapids. They are open from 1-3 p.m. Monday-Friday. We were proud to stock a truck full of food to donate to this great organization in October with our "Stuck in a Truck" food drive, but you can stop by anytime.

They are a safe haven for women and children who have been victims of domestic abuse. To learn how you can donate or volunteer your time, visit their website.

On December 1 and 2, the Salvation Army is hosting "Trailers of Love" at both Cedar Rapids Theisen's locations. As an extension of the Toys for Tots program, it's a great way to drop off gently used or new books, puzzles and family games in a central location to be delivered to those in need. New toys for kids age 9-14 are of most need. Please no clothing, food or used toys. Get more details here.

The ever-popular Salvation Army "bell-ringing" program is underway. Always a fun and easy way to help. Find a location near you and register to ring the bell for donations.

The United Way has a handy guide listing a number of volunteer and donation opportunities across the area, including places you can volunteer to serve holiday meals. Click here to learn more.

If you know of any other organizations offering these opportunities feel free to share, and please, have a blessed and wonderful holiday season.

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