Community Thanksgiving Feast Volunteer Descriptions


Thanksgiving Feast owes much success to the wonderful volunteers who offer assistance to The Giving Heart. both before and during our event.  The majority of our signup opportunities begin in late October with newsletter subscribers getting “first dibs” on the signup process. Fill out our newsletter signup form below to stay informed about our various opportunities.

2019 volunteer applications are now available.  Please read our descriptions FIRST.  

A link to the signups is located after the descriptions.


Thanksgiving WEEK Food Prep - This role is for 18 and older during our Food Preparations (Monday through Wednesday) and 25 and older on Thanksgiving Day.   Note that this form includes the Thanksgiving Day position!  

  • Monday through Wednesday is available as 2 different shifts per day:  9 am to 12 noon and 12 noon to 3 pm.  Wednesday afternoon can sometimes be finished early and we'll invite you to join with the Wednesday Setup (see below) if we've finished with food preparations. 
  •  Tuesday:  You will also find a specific signup for Turkey cutting.  This is where we ask people to provide their own knives for cutting the turkeys.  
  • Thursday - Time runs from 8 am until approximately 11 am.  More time might be necessary if the kitchen runs behind.  25 and older for the Thursday slots.
  • Thursday Clean Up - Time runs from 1:30 to 3:30.  Will assist with kitchen and dining room clean up needs.  May sign up for this and the Thursday morning need.

[NOTE:  Due to work flow needs, you cannot sign up for Thursday morning AND ANOTHER position within the actual event (i.e., Table Hosting, plating)].

Thanksgiving Feast - Wednesday Setup - This position is available on Wednesday.  Ages are 12 years to adult.  A maximum of 4 people (with at least 1 adult if 15 and under) per application form.  Hours:  2 pm to no later than 5 pm.  This task is dependent on the donations that we receive and may include some of the following needs:

  • Distribution Area Setups - help ready various areas such as toiletries, food, clothing.
  • Flower Assistance - help get flowers ready for distribution on Thanksgiving.
  • Centerpiece/Dining Setup - help to create centerpieces, set tables, add signage and table numbers.

Thanksgiving Feast - Resource Groups and Haircuts -  Sign up in this area if you would like to provide information or services for the guests.  This includes haircuts, medical offerings, nonprofits, etc.  18 and over unless prior arrangements are made for your group.  Time:  9 am until approximately 3 pm.  

Thanksgiving Feast - Entertainment - Deadline to apply is November 1st.  We're looking for instrumentalists, acoustic musicians, singers and dancers.  We'd love to have various performing areas throughout the event!  Times run from 9:00 to 1:30.  

 Thanksgiving Feast - Bus Ambassadors - If you are looking for an opportunity to volunteer "early", this might be a great role for you!  Volunteers, 18 years and older, may sign up to serve as a "Bus Ambassador".  Meet at GRTC's Downtown Transportation Hub (address provided later) where you can park your vehicle nearby.  From here you will board various GRTC buses and ride to the end of that particular route.  On the way back into town, you will stop each person as they board - BEFORE THEY PAY - and ask if they are coming to the Thanksgiving meal.  Explain what it is and tell them that they get to ride for free and that their return bus ticket will be available in our Distribution Room.  Time:  8 am to approximately 1-1:30, depending on when your bus returns to the transportation hub.  You may sometimes - if time permits - ride more than one route.  Please consider joining us at the convention center to enjoy the meal afterwards!  Note:  34 slots are needed.  IF we fill up the slots, we may allow people to ride with a friend or family member but this is ONLY IF we fill the spaces.  The application asks you to note the name of someone that you might like to be paired with in case we can permit this to happen.  PLEASE REMEMBER though that our primary goal is to focus on catching riders before they pay to ride the bus.  If you are with someone and conversing with them, you might miss performing your job.    

Thanksgiving Feast - Table Host - This area has the most space.  The dining room is divided into 4 quadrants and we circulate the seating of our guests to help with food serving flows throughout the day.  THIS IS THE ONLY THANKSGIVING DAY POSITION FOR THOSE WITH CHILDREN UNDER 14!!!  When filling out this form, you can apply for up to 16 people on one application and we will assign tables accordingly.  You MUST list all adult names when registering.  Please indicate if you are a single or a single with children.  We will match you up with others to share hosting duties.  NOTE:  If you are single hosting and you decide to bring a friend, they can come in with you but remember that you are then filling up one of the guest seats at your table.  We can attempt to move you to a table that has been vacated but keep in mind that this may move your place in the seating line.  Time:  Arrive between 9:30 and 10:30...Remain until guests depart.  We continue to seat people - sometimes as late as 2:15 pm.  If you are unable to commit to remaining until that time frame, either sign up early or select other roles that might fit your schedule.  We can't express this enough as many years we've experienced late arrivals with no table hosts to dine with them.  

Thanksgiving Feast - Youth Ambassadors - Youth, ages 14 to 24, are the official servers for the Community Thanksgiving Feast.  Community service hours are given, as is a YA t-shirt.  Additionally, some clean up tasks may be needed, so flexibility is strongly encouraged.  It is your responsibility to get your community service paperwork as we do not provide this after the event.  If you have parents who intend to participate in our event, please note that YOU need to remain until your role is completed.  This means that your family should either remain waiting or make alternative transportation arrangements to allow you to perform your duties.  Time:  Arrive between 9:30 am and 10:30 am.  Will be released as work is completed...no later than 3:00 pm, including some clean up tasks.  ​NOTE:  DO NOT SIGN UP IF YOU DON'T MEET THE AGE REQUIREMENTS.  ID's MAY BE CHECKED.  ​​​​​​

Thanksgiving Feast - Distribution Area -  Sign up in this area to help in distributing items to our guests.  Areas - depending on received donations - may include Food Bags, Toiletries, Blankets, Clothing/Shoes, Children's Items, Miscellaneous, and Flowers.  While this area allows for 19 and older, we encourage those 19-24 to consider signing up as a Youth Ambassador (see below) if space is available.  Time:  Arrive between 9:30 and 10:30...Remain until guests depart (generally by 3:30 at the latest).  Lunch is available at 11:00 to dine before opening your area.  

Thanksgiving Feast - Service Area and Adult Youth Helpers - Ages 25 and older.  This area encompasses MANY positions and many time slots.  Check the signup form for specifics but I've broken some explanations down here.  NOTE: Some positions require attendance on Wednesday, Nov. 27th from approximately 2 pm to 4 pm.  Such positions will be noted on our signup form.

  • Door Greeters (7:30 - 1:30) - Welcomes guests and/or volunteers into the convention center, directing them to the appropriate area.
  • Direction Ambassadors (8:30-11:00) - Stands at the Dining Hall entrance and directs volunteers to their spots.
  • Volunteer Check in (8:00-11:00) - Assist with any check in needs for volunteers, help with shirt distribution and name tags.
  • Morning Snack Service (8:30 - 11:00) - Offer a morning snack to guests waiting in Exhibit Hall B.
  • Table Capt. Assistant (9:00 - 3:30) - Help with place mats and centerpieces, including clean up tasks after the event.  Relieve table captains when necessary.
  • Youth Ambassador ADULT HELPER - (9:00 - 3:30) - Assist with the Youth Ambassadors who serve the meal.
  • Guest Escort (9 am to 3:30 pm) - LOTS OF WALKING!!! - Will escort guests to the appropriate dining room table.
  • Food Plating Area (10:30 to 3:00) - Works with various needs in the plating area, i.e., entrance and exit monitors, as well as plating food.
  • Coffee Service (10:30 - 3:00) - Assist with coffee area needs at stationary service area and/or moving coffee carts throughout the event.
  • Dessert Service (10:30 - 3:00) - Assist with dessert area needs at stationary service area and/or moving dessert carts throughout the event.
  • Take Out Service (10:30 - 3:00) - A VERY BUSY area which combines helping to box up to-go needs with assembling takeout bags.
  • Room Monitors (8:30 - 3:30) - Help with crowd control and flow in our Resource Area and Distribution Room.  
  • Haircut Assistant (8:30 - 3:30) - Signs up guests wanting haircuts and sends them to available hairdressers when available.
  • Flower Distribution Helper (9:30 - 3:00) - Assist the Flower Captain in handing out flowers to our guests upon leaving.
  • THANKSGIVING FEAST CLEANUP (1:30 - 4:00) - Assist in loading supplies in our EZ Box for transporting back to our office.

Please note that flexibility is appreciated as we make adjustments to our needs and/or donations that were made available.  Service, Distribution and Wednesday Setup are in most need of flexibility.

** check back by Saturday, January 11th for 2020 volunteer form below **

Click here for the 2020 Volunteer Link (coming soon)