Aptly rhyming with the word remember, November is the time to recall memories of festivities, edifying food and the kindred spirits and gifts in life that conjure up feelings of gratefulness and the inclination to share good fortune with others.

While eating at an “Italian” restaurant in a strip mall in Natomas that my pops randomly chose as the place to officially meet the boyfriend last week (my pops and counterpart are cool, so dinner went sans problem—if you were curious), I thought about how long it’d been since I’d seen my family. Like many, I have a pops who lives here, two sisters and two brothers scattered about south, east and west, and a momma who lives there. Being with a small part of my family reminded me of times with all of them.

Sparing me the embarrassing, awkward childhood stories, pops inquired about my holiday plans.

Considering Thanksgiving plans, I remembered when my family volunteered to serve Christmas dinner at St. Philomene’s Church on Bell Street and El Camino Avenue, when I was just a wee 4 years old. Recalling earlier familial philanthropy established inspiration for displaying my good neighbor-ness to fellow Sacramentans for the holidays.

Helping others doesn’t have to pilfer your pelf. You can do it for free, or for little. Donations and volunteering are generally light on the pocket, but count big for the Karma. Donate old coats (you can probably let that 5-year-old Gap coat go by now) or canned goods sitting in your cupboard from last year to food and clothing drives. Canned beans go for pretty cheap at discount grocery stores.

Loaves & Fishes, a Sacramento-based charity funded solely through private donations, is in need of donations for Thanksgiving. You can go big and roast and slice up a turkey to donate with a jar of the drippings—they need 200. Or, donate a few boxes of corn bread mix. A box of Jiffy Corn Muffin mix will merely get rid of your loose change at 50 cents a box.

Volunteering the time you’d normally spend trying to flatten your butt during the holidays is the cheapest way to contribute. Contact almost any local church about opportunities to help with feeding the hungry or clothing the cold.

If you are more financially fortunate and can contribute some of your time and cashola, you can participate in an event that benefits others, while getting in a good morning jog (perhaps in preparation for pigging out on ham, turkey and mashed pomme de terre?). At $35 to register ($40 day-of), the 16th annual Run to Feed the Hungry 5k/10k is a great way to wake up this Thanksgiving morning and give to those in need. You don’t have worry about tearing up the race course or being a seasoned marathon runner. You choose to participate in a fun run/walk 5k or a timed 5k or 10k run. Seems like lots to run, but it’s really only 3.1 or 6.2 miles.

And, it’s a popular Sacramento event that is sure to be a social, well-spirited and unselfish display of community togetherness. If you can’t participate, you can sponsor a virtual runner to represent your generosity. Funds raised will go to the Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services. Register online on or before Nov. 24 and get a long-sleeved marathon T-shirt. Visit Runtofeedthehungry.com to register or persuade yourself to partake.

Grab a good can of soup, roast a turkey, grab an old coat to donate and drop them off while jogging around the east/central Sacramento Run to Feed the Hungry course and give thanks for the ability to give, and jog. Or get 2.0 and sponsor a virtual runner to do it for you. Get the family together. Cheers.

Visit sacloaves.org to find out other ways of helping Loaves & Fishes.

Words by Josselin Bassaldu