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      Volunteerism is strong ahead of Thanksgiving

      Less than a week away from Thanksgiving, many community groups report strong support from volunteers.

      "From all of the people we've talked to, it seems that everyone's got it under control, which is awesome!" remarked Victoria Leonhardt of the Upper Peninsula Volunteer Network.

      The online community resource works to pair nearly 1,000 volunteers with over 200 organizations across the U.P.

      But, for many groups like St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Marquette, the supply of volunteers simply outweighs the demand.

      "More than we need--we have to turn them away, and I feel so bad when we do that," said Edith Prosen, a longstanding volunteer with the church.

      For its 34th annual Thanksgiving Dinner, the church expects to plate up 150 meals.

      Church-goers will tell you, it's the 30 volunteers serving the food that makes the event special.

      "We have wonderful volunteers here," Prosen said. "They just come and they work and make the other people feel happy, especially the senior citizens that are alone."

      While the demand for volunteers may be low, there are several opportunities to help out in a less structured way.

      "It's also a good idea to check with your local church or your neighborhood to see if there are elderly or disabled people that don't have someone to spend Thanksgiving with or need help raking their yard or winterizing their house," said Leonhardt. "You can get out on Thanksgiving and give back that way."

      According to the U.P. Volunteer Network, there are plenty of community service opportunities for Christmas events. To view how you can get involved, click here.