With Thanksgiving less than two weeks away, it's hard not to get amped up about having a small vacation away from the Gator Nation. Canceled classes, plans to head back home to see family and friends and the anticipation of having a delicious feast are taking over the UF student body and faculty. But with all of the excitement, we tend to overlook the portion of the Gainesville community that may need our help to make Thanksgiving extra special.

Not all students are able to go home for the holidays, and not all Gainesville families are able to celebrate Thanksgiving the way they would like to. That's why several Gainesville organizations are trying to help the community by providing food drives, meals and friendship to those in need for the holidays.

The St. Francis House, a homeless shelter and soup kitchen located on South Main Street downtown, will be serving a free meal to the general public from 10 a.m. to noon on Thanksgiving. This is an annual event for the organization, and more information can be found on the main website under news and events.

Churches are also an excellent resource for food drives and providing meals for families in need. According to the Kanapaha Presbyterian Church's November newsletter, they will be hosting a community dinner from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving, and the church is in need of volunteers to prepare the dinner, clean up afterward and to just be there to support the families. Anyone interested can check out the website and contact the church staff.

Trinity United Methodist Church is taking food donations from now until Nov. 18 to prepare Thanksgiving baskets for families. The church is asking for foods such as frozen turkeys, cranberry sauce, canned fruit, instant potatoes, canned vegetables and several other items to prepare the baskets. Cash donations and Publix gift cards are also greatly appreciated, and anyone who wants to donate items can learn more from the website.

While many of us won't be in Gainesville for the holidays, this doesn't mean we can't get involved in our own hometowns. Every community offers opportunities to help make Thanksgiving great for everyone, and even a simple food donation can make a family's Thanksgiving that much better. After all is said and done, there is no better way to give thanks than to give another person something to be thankful for.

Follow @GatorGivingBack on Twitter.

Posts in Gators Giving Back appear on Thursdays.