In years past, the holiday season didn't require much creativity. Perhaps the most critical decision that needed to be made was the addition of a meatless dish for a newly vegetarian cousin. But, as coronavirus rates surge across the country, the holidays will look different for everyone this year, and some are more affected by the pandemic than others.

In Portland, unemployment and hunger have spiked in the past ten months, leaving many without the knowledge of where their next warm meal will come from. Some populations, including seniors and those who are immunocompromised, have had to adapt to social distancing regulations that will remain through the holidays. At this time of unique hardship, the holiday spirit of gratitude and goodwill takes on new meaning.

Here are three ways you can give back this Thanksgiving––all from the comfort of your own home.

Gift a meal to a senior in need.

For two decades, New Seasons Market has worked with Meals on Wheels People (MOWP) to serve Portland's seniors, making sure that those over 60 have access to warm meals year-round. Each year, need ramps up in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. This year, the need is even greater. While New Seasons Market typically hosts a five-day donation campaign at the register of each location, shoppers now have eight days to participate in the campaign in-store from November 18th to November 25th. And for those that are taking advantage of New Seasons' socially distanced grocery pickup and delivery services, donated meals can be added to online holiday reservations and Neighbor Rewards members have the option to gift their rewards. With social distancing regulations preventing many seniors from seeing their loved ones, a donated meal is one small act of kindness that we can all participate in.

Try out a new recipe on friends and family.

If the times are preventing you from seeing your nearest and dearest, there may be no sweeter gift than a home cooked meal dropped off at the doorstep of an unsuspecting friend. It's possible that you may not be the best cook, but with a healthy amount of confidence and an air-tight recipe you are bound to come up with something tasty. Give sausage apple bread stuffing a try, if there's a loaf of bread in your pantry that is just reaching stale and you have too many eggs than you know what to do with. Or for the health conscious dessert lovers in your life, try your hand at dairy-free pumpkin ice cream. It's a bit more impressive than the banana bread you mastered six months ago.

Find a local nonprofit on an issue you care about.

It's hard to end the year without at least a little bit of city pride. It's not been an easy one, and between public health crises and wildfires the Portland community has proved its resilience time and time again. Now it's the season to celebrate this community and give back to one another. If you want to make a difference in the lives of your neighbors, but don't know where to start, WW's Give!Guide makes it easy. Sift through local nonprofits by category to see where you want to make an impact. Whichever you choose, there's no wrong move.