Helping For the Holidays

It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday consumerism and forget about those who aren’t as fortunate. But hopefully this year people will understand the importance of civic involvement considering these difficult economic times. Earlier this year First Lady Michelle Obama jump started United We Serve, urging that people get involved with volunteer opportunities. If you are interested in contributing to a cause this season and lending a helping hand there are plenty of opportunities around for you to help out and get involved in. Getting involved in volunteer organizations is not only a good way to help others but it also helps to be connected and engaged with the communities. Here are a list of organizations that help spread resources to those in need throughout the Long Island/ NYC area:

  1. New York Cares holds an annual coat drive from December 1-31. The organization collects new and used coats from donors. Monetary donations are also accepted by New York Cares. Around 70,000 coats are distributed to individuals and their families. There are several locations where you can drop your coats off. Weekdays between 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. you can drop off your coats at Grand Central Terminal, Penn Station by the LIRR or the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
  2. Helping Hand Rescue Mission– Helping hand rescue mission provides food, clothing, household items, education, prayer support and counseling to those who need help in Huntington, Long Island and the surrounding communities. They have been lending support since 1965. Take a look at their calender for scheduled events. On Wednesday the group serves soup and sandwichs to the community at noon. If you are free and willing to help on weekends, Saturdays they conduct outreach programs and activities for children.
  3. Island Harvest– If you are interested in helping to feed others, getting involved with Island Harvest might be a good start. The organization collects surplus food from over 600 local local restaurants and food related buisnesses. They distribute the food to nearly 500 soup kitchens and places for those who need food to access it. They also conduct educational programs to increase awareness about hunger on Long Island.
  4. Toys For Tots–  a national organization dedicated to providing toys to children in need. You can make a donation or find a Toys For Tots Campaign in your area by going here: toysfortots.org
  5. New York City Coalition Against Hunger– Interested in preparing food or serving the hungry? Contact the New York City Coalition Against Hunger. For nonprofit soup kitchens around New York City.

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