Ways to Give Back to the Utah County Community

The holiday season is always a mad dash. Out of nowhere, your to-do list is inundated with hosting guests, shopping, and helping kids finish the semester. With cooking, shopping, parties, and fun, it can be easy to overlook that there are people in our Utah County community who are far less fortunate or a little down on their luck this holiday season. Whether it’s donating your services or making a small contribution, we encourage everyone to see if they can chip in to help those needing a little extra love. Here are four great organizations we wholeheartedly support.

United Way of Utah County

The United Way is rooted in the belief that we are all people. We all benefit when a child succeeds in school, when someone finds a job that will help them provide for their family, or when more people are able to access quality, affordable healthcare. Anyone and everyone can lend a hand. If you’re an art teacher, you can volunteer to teach family art classes. If you want to serve meals to the Utah County community, there are several opportunities to do so. You can even donate cleaning supplies, office supplies, or food depending on the need.

Learn more about the United Way of Utah County and volunteer opportunities here.

Intermountain Foundation – Utah Valley Hospital

The Intermountain Foundation at Utah Valley Hospital provides support for a variety of programs focused on improving patient care and community health. From hosting special events to raise funds to supporting capital campaigns to improve the overall quality of the hospital, they are a Utah County community staple. To pitch in, you can donate money to your local intermountain community hospital, include memorial-gift opportunities in a loved one’s obituary or find out if your employer offers matching gifts to not-for-profit organizations.

For more information, visit their website.

Tabitha’s Way Local Food Pantry South County

Did you know that over 78,000 people in Utah County live at or below the Federal Poverty Line? 1 in 5 children in Utah County are food insecure. Tabitha’s Way aims to alleviate food insecurity in Utah County and provides food and supplies to an average of 5,000 individuals monthly. To help, you can donate money, host a food drive or volunteer.

Learn more about how Tabitha’s way is helping fight hunger and how you can help.

Utah Community Action

Utah Community Action helps low-income families achieve self-sufficiency through six core programs. These programs range from Adult Education to Nutrition to Housing Case Management and Beyond. Last year, 89,120 individuals were served by UCA, 254 houses were improved through weatherization services, and 2,191 individuals obtained health care services for themselves or a family member. While most volunteers are placed in the Community Food Centers due to demand, there are several opportunities to help out in each program.

Find out more about the programs and opportunities here.

Volunteering in Utah County isn’t limited to this list. We encourage everyone to take a few minutes to explore how you can give back to your local community this holiday season. If there’s an organization you’re passionate about, feel free to respond and let us know!


Tips for Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner

Time flies by. Thanksgiving is over a week away. Many revel in this celebrated holiday to enjoy the company of their families and close friends. However, for some, it can also get the nerves to a record high, especially if you’re hosting the annual feast. Whether it’s your first rodeo or you’re a pro, we can all take a little time out to brush up on some tips that will help your Thanksgiving feast run smoothly (and ensure that you won’t rip your hair out).

1.) Make a Schedule and Abide By It

It may sound a little ridiculous, but make a schedule of the day’s flow and stick to it. Yes, you should even schedule when you’re going to wake up and take a shower because the day IS that jam-packed. Give yourself ample time to primp and prepare before guests arrive. Figure out when drinks and appetizers will be served and schedule when various dishes make their rotation in the oven. Allow some flex time just in case things veer off course and run a little behind.

2.) Prepare Menu Ahead

This is easy to overlook, but when it comes to menu planning, you cannot go on autopilot mode. Check in with all of your guests to make sure there are no allergies and dietary restrictions and make sure you have dishes available for anyone who needs alternatives to the main menu items. If you have a specific artisan item, reserve it or pick it up now. Local markets often fill up with reservations weeks ahead and seasonal items are in the highest demand of the year. If you cannot secure your first choice, there is still time to plan alternatives. If possible, pick multiple proteins and don’t be afraid to be bold and mix it up.

3.) Prepare As Much As You Can

You’re probably thinking “jeez, another planning item,” but preparation isn’t limited to menu planning. By now, your guest list should be set. Make sure you have an exact head count for both your invites and their guests (if applicable). Pick out the dishes and glassware that will be used for every dish. Also, don’t try to jam all of the food prep into the day itself. See if there are any dishes you can prepare ahead of time to save yourself some stress. Also, if you have guests who will be staying overnight, make sure to prepare their accommodations prior to the day of.

4.) Delegate Tasks

NEVER turn down help. We all know the feeling of wanting to be a good host and take care of everything, but this is a holiday of coming together and having all hands on deck. If someone offers to bring a dish, let them. If there are certain parts of the meal that stress you out, let someone else handle it or ask for advice. Delegating tasks can also be a tremendous help. If someone offers to help and you know they move at lightning speed, let them chop and peel vegetables. If culinary skills aren’t someone’s forte, have them do simple tasks like stir, pick herbs, and clean up. This is a group effort and no one should be in it alone.

5.) Allocate time to RELAX

Perhaps the most crucial (and most often forgotten) tip is making sure you give yourself and everyone in attendance time to relax. Thanksgiving is about enjoying each other’s company, not constantly entertaining. If your family loves football, give yourself some room to watch a game before or after dinner. If you have traditions like playing games, make sure you allow time for that. Like all things in life, nothing is perfect, so if something doesn’t turn out just right or go as expected, relax. Gratitude and joy are the ultimate goals of this holiday and you’re going to do just fine!


5 Fun Things to Do in Utah County This Month

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It might only be the second week of November, but we bet there are a few readers out there who are already feeling a slight holiday burnout. Luckily for us, Utah County is always abundant with things to do this time of year, whether they’re holiday-related or not. Take a break from planning your Thanksgiving menu and Christmas shopping and get out on the town for these fun-filled events in Utah County this month.

*Veterans Day Events

When: Friday, November 11th

What: Utah County doesn’t fall short when it comes to Veterans Day festivities. We’ve got you covered when it comes to speakers, music, tributes, and beyond. No matter what town you’re in, you’re close to an event that honors veterans. If you have the day off or can manage a few free hours, let’s thank our local vets for serving our country.

Where: Provo – Timpview High School – 10 a.m. (Guest speakers to honor vets in Utah. Luncheon to follow)

Lehi – 500 East Bridge – 11 a.m. (Several activities throughout the day)

Orem – SCERA – 745 S. State Street – 10 a.m. (Free celebration of veterans with patriotic music and many special guests)

*BYU Home Games

When: There are home games Saturday, November 12th; Saturday, November 19th; Saturday, November 26th

What: Who’s ready for some football? Whether it’s a boys night out or taking the family for a night out on the town, football is synonymous with fall. The BYU Cougars are currently 5-4 and could use a little hometown cheer to root them on through the end of the season.

Where: LaVell Edwards Stadium – 1700 N Canyon Rd, Provo

*BYU Lu’au

When: Tuesday, November 15th

What: Just as fast as the first frost hit your windshield, you want to shake it off and hop on a plane to a tropical island. While that may not be a reality, we can at least pretend by attending BYU’s Lu’au. BYU Multicultural Student Services will present both a Pacific-themed dinner and a show with the dinner beginning at 6 p.m. and show starting at 7. The best part? You can save extra money for Christmas shopping because it’s only $5 for students and $10 for the public.

*BYU and UVU Basketball Home Openers

When: BYU – Monday, November 14th 8:00 p.m.; UVU – Wednesday, November 16th 7:00 p.m.

What: If you don’t like enjoying sports in chilly weather or are just a huge basketball buff, good news is in store as the regular season for both BYU and UVU basketball begins next week. Both teams have been working hard in exhibitions and we wish both of them good luck as they enter the regular season.

Where: BYU – Marriott Center – 701 E University Pkwy, Provo

UVU – UCCU Center – 800 W University Pkwy, Orem


How to Prepare the Perfect Guest Room for the Holidays

And just like that, it’s November in Utah County. Before you could even take your Halloween costume off, the holiday season is at your doorstep. The next two months can add some stress if you’re not prepared. The holiday season often means spending time with friends and loved ones. Utah County is an incredible place to be during the season, so if you live here, chances are your home is a prime candidate for holiday festivities. It can be easy to stress out about where guests are going to stay and if your place is even fit for guests. These simple tips will not only get your space primed and ready, but they will take your guest room to the next level to provide a quaint holiday oasis.

*Stock up on necessities

Supply the bathroom with plenty of toilet paper and put clean towels out in an easy-to-see location. Many guests may be traveling light and we know that airports can be a pain when it comes to carrying liquids, so some extra shampoo and toiletries are a nice touch. (Hint: This is the perfect situation to use those hotel samples you’ve nabbed.)

*Consider the space

It’s instinct to want to put a full or queen bed in your guest room, but often times, you may have children or multiple guests staying at your house and it might make more sense to have a couple of twin beds. It also creates versatility and couples staying overnight could push the beds together if they wanted. Not only does this add more central space, but it could double as a space your kids can have sleepovers during the year. Not to mention, air mattresses have come a long way. Even consider ‘indoor camping’ set ups for a fun way to get the little ones eager for lights out.

*Put out water and some snacks

This isn’t only a hospitable gesture, but it will prevent guests from getting lost or clambering through the kitchen if they’re trying to get water in the middle of the night. A carafe of water and some trail mix, granola bars, or pieces of fruit should be perfect. Bonus points: Stocking up on snacks that are unique to Utah County. Visiting your local Harmon’s could be a great start!

*Keep the room stocked with interesting books and activities

During the holidays, families tend to spend a lot of time in enjoying each other’s company. Keeping your guest room stocked with books, magazines, and board games is a great way for your guests to wind down in peace and prevent them from getting cabin fever.

*Create some kind of theme in the room

You don’t have to go crazy with paint or spend boatloads of money on accessories, but a common theme will tie the room together and make guests feel at home. We’ve seen lots of incredible nautical or beach themes to give your guests a true sense of getting away. A guest room is also a great way to hang extra art you might not have space in other parts of your home.