"It is in giving that we receive."  –Francis of Assisi

November, the month of Thanksgiving, is the perfect time to reflect on the many blessings in our lives and share our thanks by giving back to others. Whether volunteering our time or donating funds, contributing to the well-being of another yields rewards beyond measure. Here, we offer a handful of ideas for giving back to the community.

1. Attend a Holiday Home Tour: Next month, the Cancer Support Community Valley/Ventura/Santa Barbara’s 25th Anniversary Holiday Homes Tour and Holiday Boutique (December 1 and 2) presents the opportunity to lend support to programs that serve 3,000 adults, children and teens affected by cancer each year. The self-guided tour of Conejo Valley homes and the holiday boutique at St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church in Westlake Village is the signature fundraiser of this independently governed and funded nonprofit, which relies on charitable donations to offer their programs free of charge. Reserve tickets at CancerSupportVVSB.org.

2. Visit a Local Farm: Support local agriculture by visiting farmers at the 6th Annual Ventura County Farm Day onSaturday, November 3, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Take a free self-guided tour at a variety of farms throughout Ventura County, including McGrath Family Farm, Houweling’s Tomatoes, Gill’s Onions, Deardorff Family Farms, Reiter Affiliated Companies and Petty Ranch. This year’s Farm Day kicks off on Friday, November 2, with a “Farm-to-Table” barbecue at Oxnard Historic Farm Park, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Ventura County Farm Day is organized by the nonprofit Students for Eco-Education and Agriculture (SEEAG), whose mission is to help children understand the farm origins of their food through classroom agricultural education and free farm field trips. Find a list of participating farms at VenturaCountyFarmDay.com.  

3. Lunch with a Veteran: This Veterans Day is November 12, and what better time to show your gratitude for a veteran’s service than by taking them to lunch? Ask local restaurants about meal deals and specials for veterans and enjoy a meal you can feel really good about picking up.

4. Take Your Pants Off: Pants Off Racing’s Almost 10K/5K Again for Pancreatic Cancer in Calabasas, on Saturday, November 3, from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Malibu Creek State Park includes a 1 mile fun run/walk, and 5K and 10K distances. All proceeds from the event are used to assist families and support pancreatic cancer victims. Pants Off Racing’s mission is to provide service to those lives affected by pancreatic cancer through time, energy and goodwill; to integrate and unite generations, through sport participation, while creating public awareness about pancreatic cancer. Register at PantsOffRacing.com.

5. Serve Up Thanks: Set an extra place or two at the Thanksgiving table this year or consider serving others at a local church or facility hosting Thanksgiving dinner for those in need. Organizations like Manna, Food Share, Senior Concerns and the Community Cupboard at CLU help feed the hungry through a variety of programs and always appreciate donations and an extra pair of hands.