How to help out on Thanksgiving in Madison

In Microtones, our newsletter-first column.

In Microtones, our newsletter-first column. 

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MICROTONES by Chris Lay, associate publisher

I don’t know about you, but the holiday season has really crept up on me this year. It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just next week, but there it is. It might be hackneyed at this point to harp on how we’re supposed to spend at least some of our turkey day in contemplation of the general comforts of life that we take for granted, but it really is worth focusing some energy on such a small yet humbling thing.

Another way to put things in perspective is to do what you can to give back to those less fortunate. There are some organizations and institutions around Madison doing just that who are worth connecting with if you feel so inclined:

The Goodman Community Center‘s Thanksgiving Basket Drive is a tradition going back 30 years now. For 2018, the Goodman Center has more than 21,000 Dane County residents (including nearly 10,000 children!) who are counting on the program for a holiday dinner. If you want to volunteer or help with a donation of food, or money to buy food in bulk, all of that info can be found here.

The First Congregational Church has hosted a free Thanksgiving meal for the community since 1993, serving meals to several hundred people over the course of the day. If you want to help, you can get more information here, or shoot them an email

Second Harvest Food Bank of Southern Wisconsin has put over 100 million meals on tables since 1986 and is always accepting foodfunds, or your time.

Serving Middleton, west Madison and Cross Plains, the Middleton Outreach Ministry‘s Thanksgiving Baskets program offers all the fixings for a Thanksgiving meal to hundreds of families, as well as seniors and individuals with disabilities. You can make a donation to help them out here.

If you’re still looking for ways to help out, the United Way of Dane County has a handy site, Volunteer Your Time dot org, where you can search out anywhere else that might need a hand supporting people in need.

If you just want an excuse to get down to some great local music, there’s always Latin Music Fest 2018 at the Majestic on Wednesday, November 21, featuring music by former podcast guest Tony Castñeda‘s Latin Jazz Band, Orquesta MAS, Acoplados, DJ Chamo and DJ Rumba. All proceeds from the event will go to the Music Program at Centro Hispano of Dane County.


The River Food Pantry is seeking donations for its H.O.P.E. (Help Other People Eat) Holiday Food Drive, and is always looking for volunteers.

This is only a partial list that we’ll update with any other suggestions you might have, so send us an email if we missed something and we’ll add it here. Here’s hoping your holiday season gets off to a lovely start.

(Photo by Joshua Mayer on Flickr.)


New this week:

Join Tone Madison on December 15 at BarleyPop for a Best of 2018 listening party.

Reid Kurkerewicz reflects on what went wrong at this year’s Prism Music and Arts Festival, and what organizers are learning from it.

Ben Munson inspects the new I/O Arcade Bar on Willy Street.

Elsewhere on the Madison internet: A photo of Baraboo High School students throwing a Nazi salute puts the spotlight on hate in Wisconsin. Girlpool has announced an April 17 show at the High Noon. Weird Al has announced a June 23 show at Overture Hall. The Wisconsin State Journal has the latest on the Madison Police Department’s investigation of August’s shooting at WORT. Tag sings Dylan.

This week’s Madison calendar: Avant-garde percussionist Jon Mueller plays a solo show at Arts + Literature Laboratory. Madison band Miyha kicks off a short tour at Good Style Shop. Kiernan Laveaux spins at RobiniaAnd more.

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