November ushers in a season of giving, but it’s typically centered around holiday gifts to family members and friends. This year, what if we all took a different approach and decided to give back to our community instead? We all hold an incredible power to make a difference in one another’s lives, and sometimes all it takes is one small step to get the ball rolling. Here are our five suggestions for giving back this month.

Prep the Community Garden for Winter: Grab the family and join the YMCA of East Tennessee on Nov. 2 for a workday in their Community Giving Garden. They’ll be cleaning up the soil beds and getting the grounds ready for winter, tasks suitable for all age groups. YMCAKnoxville.org

Help the Ladies of Charity: The Ladies of Charity need volunteers every Saturday in their warehouse unloading donated furniture and sorting clothes. This organization has been helping underserved people in Knoxville since 1942, relying on the generosity (and manpower) of those with time and energy to give. LadiesOfCharityKnox.org

Usher at the Clarence Brown Theatre: Be a part of a Knoxville holiday tradition by serving as an usher during the running of A Christmas Carol. You’ll welcome and seat patrons, assist those who need extra help, and be a smiling face as a representative of the theater. ClarenceBrownTheatre.com

Serve as an Emergency Food Helper: Work with CAC Beardsley Community Farm at their warehouse to distribute bags of shelf-stable food to families. Distribution days are crucial to alleviating hunger in the community! Wear close-toed shoes and come ready to lift 20-pound bags. BeardsleyFarm.org 

Encourage a Child with Special Needs: SHADES of Development provides after-school enrichment programming for preschool to middle school students in nine Knox County School locations. They are looking for volunteers to engage with special needs students one-on-one. ShadesOfDevelopment.org