We asked our Facebook community to share community service ideas that work well in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. Once again, our community has some pretty cool ideas!

Everyone pitches in: We collect nonperishable food items from students. Classrooms decorate boxes for the collection. Our parents and local grocery stores donate turkeys and the school staff donates pies and breads. We then work with the school counselor and the school nurse to determine our schools neediest families to receive the baskets. The baskets are delivered the Friday before Thanksgiving.

Competition brings in donations: We do a “Civil War” food drive the week before Thanksgiving. Our principal began the tradition and it's grown into a competition that’s successful each year. We set up two teams of students and donations from each team are tallied each day. At the end of the week the winning team gets bragging rights. We're a high poverty school so our own families are invited to come in and “shop” the donations and anything leftover is donated to our local food pantry warehouse.

Find community service ideas for kids, classrooms, and families

Each grade handles a food group: We host a “Thanks and Giving” Food Drive every year for our school families in need. Each grade level is assigned a certain food group. For example, kindergarteners collect canned fruit, grade 1 collects starches, and so on. Monetary donations are accepted as well. The grade with the most donations wins a pizza party. Baskets are made and given to our families in need.

Canned food collection followed by coat exchange: Our school does a turkey walk and students bring in canned good and other nonperishables. The PTO also runs a “trading post” for families to donate and pick up winter coats.

Encourage kids to donate coins: We are holding a change challenge. Each grade is competing to see who can bring in the most. The money goes towards the purchase of items for families in need at our school.

Donations help area shelters: We did a nonperishable food collection at our Fall Festival and collected more than 300 items which we donated to three area shelters. This helped show students how fortunate they are.

Winter gear collection makes a difference: We work with our local community service groups and collect coats, hats, and mittens. We set up collection boxes for students to drop off items.

Originally posted in 2013 and updated regularly.