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WHERE TO: DONATE IN NYC...OUR ANNUAL DONATION GUIDE

     Home  >  Articles  > Charitable Causes
by Rebecca Stolcz

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The holiday season is a wonderful time to demonstrate family values to our children. As well as giving them items on their wish list, another more lasting gift is the chance to experience the joys of giving back. There are many people in our area in need of assistance, and many local organizations working to fulfill those needs. These worthy service organizations depend on contributions from the community. In the holiday spirit of giving, here are some places where you and your family can volunteer time or make donations of money, food, toys, clothing, or household items.

TIME

• Beth Israel Medical Center, (212) 420-2733. A kind word brightens the day of a cancer patient. Beth Israel’s cancer volunteers provide companionship and emotional support to cancer patients (and their families) in the hospital. Volunteers visit with patients and their families at bedside and in patient lounge areas. Weekday opportunities are available at First Avenue at 16th Street and at Union Square. Call Laurie for more information, ext. 22

• Beth Israel Medical Center, (212) 420-2733. Do you knit or crochet? "Beth Israel Blanketeers" make receiving blankets, sweaters, hats and booties for babies in the neo-natal intensive care unit and for the hospital's teen pregnancy program. Larger lap blankets are also needed for elderly patients. This is an ideal opportunity for busy people who can't commit to a regular volunteer schedule. And it can be done at home! Call Laurie for more information at (212) 420-2733, ext. 22.

• Big Brothers/Big Sisters of New York City, (212) 686-2042. A Big Brother or Big Sister is a volunteer mentor who spends about four hours every other week, for at least a year, with a young person in need. The pair spends their time participating in low-cost or no-cost recreational activities like exploring a new neighborhood or playing Frisbee in Central Park. All volunteers must commit to eight hours per week. For more information on how to become a Big Brother or Sister, visit BigsNYC.org or call 888-BIGS-NYC.

• Burden Center for the Aging, 1484 First Avenue, NYC, (212) 879-7400. The Burden Center promotes the well-being of elderly residents of the Upper East Side through an array of direct social services and volunteer programs oriented to individual, family and community needs. It is dedicated to supporting the efforts of older people to remain in their homes living independently, safely and with dignity.

• Children’s Hope Foundation, 11 Park Place, Ste. 1203, NYC, (212) 233-5133. This organization aims to improve the quality of life for children with HIV and AIDS by meeting their medical and social needs. Throughout the year, volunteers conduct various drives to help provide vital secondary childcare items such as formula, diapers, new children’s clothing and miscellaneous childcare needs. They also have special drives during the holiday season for gifts for children, adolescents and young adults. For more volunteer opportunities, visit www.childrenshope.org.

• Educational Alliance, Sol Goldman YM-YWHA, (212) 780-0800, ext. 231 (Ask for Marianne). The Educational Alliance is a communal institution committed to contributing to the strength and vigor of the Jewish community and all its neighbors. Through its programs and services, the Alliance serves all people, regardless of religion, color or national origin — the young and the old, the sick and the poor, the disabled and the homeless. Volunteers can also read to a first-grader for a half-hour once a week. There is also tutoring available for neighborhood kids.

• Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, Inc., 281 Park Avenue South, NYC (212) 777-4800, ext. 332. The Federation consists of over 200 community-based, non-sectarian social service agencies in all five boroughs. Volunteers can find placement year-round, especially at the holidays. FPWA welcomes contributions of new toys, books, toiletries, etc., for their holiday gift drive.

• HELP LINE, 3 West 29th St., NYC, (212) 532-2400 (hotline); (212) 684-4480 (business). HELP LINE is a telephone suicide and crisis hotline that provides an immediate and empathic response for people in the greater New York metropolitan area who are troubled or in crisis, and then assists them to define and explore their options. The hotline is staffed by volunteers of all ages and backgrounds interested in community service. The training requires a commitment of six hours a week for eight weeks, which includes lectures, small groups, and on-line training. After training is completed, all volunteers are asked to give their time twice a month, for a year.

• Miracle House, 80 Eighth Avenue, #315, NYC (Jesse Ramos), (212) 989-7790, ext. 11 [email protected] Miracle House provides affordable housing and support services to the visiting caregivers, family and friends of people living with AIDS, cancer and other serious illnesses. Volunteers are needed to host breakfasts and dinners and to greet guests. This requires a personal commitment and minimal training. Volunteer hours are individually customized to volunteers' schedules. You can volunteer as often as once a week or once a month. For information, visit www.miraclehouse.org.

• New York Cares, (212) 228-5000. During the holiday season, New York Cares runs hundreds of programs and needs thousands of volunteers. Tutor public school children, prepare and deliver meals to HIV/AIDS patients and homebound seniors, help disabled athletes train, staff food kitchens, install computers in community centers, take care of animals in no-kill animal shelters, and so much more. Participation is also needed in their Secret Santa Program. Every winter, agencies that work with children send handwritten “Dear Santa” letters. New York Cares’ volunteers anonymously answer the children’s wishes by sending gifts. This year, they hope to bring holiday smiles to the faces of more than 20,000 children.

FOOD

• City Harvest, 575 Eighth Avenue, NYC, (917) 351-8700. City Harvest provides food for over 800 emergency food programs including soup kitchens, food pantries, daycare centers and senior centers in all five boroughs. During the holidays, City Harvest helps groups or individuals organize food drives in their apartment buildings, office buildings and places of worship.

• Citymeals-on-Wheels, (212) 687-1234. Citymeals delivers meals to homebound elderly on weekends, holidays, and in times of emergencies. Call to volunteer for meal delivery or to become a “friendly visitor” to an elderly person, or send a monetary contribution to 355 Lexington Avenue, 3rd floor, NYC, 10017. For more information, visit www.citymeals.org.

• Coalition for the Homeless, (212) 776-2090, ext. 163 (Fraser Bresnahan). The Coalition feeds more than 700 people each night from its two food vans. Volunteers are always needed.

TOYS AND GIFTS

• Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, Inc., 281 Park Avenue South, NYC (212) 777-4800, ext. 332. The Federation consists of over 200 community-based, non-sectarian social service agencies in all five boroughs. Volunteers can find placement year-round, especially at the holidays. FPWA welcomes contributions of new toys, books, toiletries, etc., for their holiday gift drive.

• God’s Love We Deliver, 166 Avenue of the Americas, NYC, (212) 294-8100. God’s Love We Deliver brings nutritious meals to men, women, and children with AIDS and other serious illnesses in all boroughs. During the holiday season, they also deliver gift bags of toys for children. Gifts for teenagers are particularly needed (cool T-shirts, accessories, perfumes and lotions). They welcome contributions of new, small gifts, such as toiletries, toys, slippers and cassettes for stocking stuffers. Donations must be received by December 9. For more information call (212) 294-8146.

• The Rose Kennedy Center, 1410 Pelham Parkway South, Bronx, (718) 430-8518. This children’s rehabilitation center is seeking new, unwrapped books, toys, and games for children ages newborn to 18. Contributions will be distributed at the annual holiday party. Gifts are also used year-round for hospitalized children on birthdays, holidays, and for special events.

CLOTHING

• Covenant House, 159-17 Hillside Avenue, Jamaica, (718) 725-9851, www.covenanthouseny.org. Each year, Covenant House New York holds a donation drive in order to provide Christmas gifts to the 300-plus young people they serve. Their biggest need is new duffel bags, so kids can carry what belongings they have. They also need new coats, hats, gloves, scarves, and toiletries. For more information, contact Stephano Williams.

• The 17th Annual New York Cares Coat Drive, (212) 402-1173, www.nycares.org. New York Cares collects gently used adult and children’s coats to distribute to struggling men, women, and children at New York City homeless shelters, soup kitchens, community centers, and senior homes. This year will be a huge milestone -— they will be collecting the millionth coat since the drive began. The drive will collect coats all over the metropolitan area throughout the month of December. Drop-off points include all NYPD precincts, Janovic Plaza stores, participating New York and New Jersey Washington Mutual branches, Time Warner Cable payment centers, and the New York Cares Community Resource Center at 75 Rockefeller Plaza, as well as Grand Central Terminal and Penn Station’s LIRR and Amtrak levels, weekdays, 7:30-9:30am. For additional drop-off locations, go to www.nycares.org.

EVERYTHING

• American Red Cross, www.nyredcross.org. The American Red Cross can always benefit from your gift of time. To find out how you can support the Red Cross in your neighborhood, call (877) RED-CROSS.

• Bailey House-Holt House, 180 Christopher Street, NYC, (212) 337-3000. Housing, food and clothing are provided for people with AIDS. Housewares, food and clothing are always accepted, but drop-offs must be scheduled in advance.

• Bailey House Supportive Housing Apartment Program, 275 Seventh Avenue, NYC, (212) 633-2500. Finds housing for people with AIDS. They need furniture of all kinds for apartments; pick-ups can be arranged.

• Children’s Wish Foundation, (800) 323-9474. Headquartered in Atlanta, this organization provides the means for seriously ill children, under the age of 18, to have their favorite wishes come true. Donations can be made in honor of or in memory of a loved one.

• The Door, A Center of Alternatives, 121 Avenue of the Americas, NYC, (212) 941-9090. The Door is a multi-service youth center offering a variety of free educational, health, legal, counseling, arts, and recreational services to young people ages 12-21. The Door seeks donations of books, toys (for teen parents), art materials, photography supplies, audio-visual equipment (including VCRs), and musical instruments.

• Furnish A Future, 476 Jefferson Street, Brooklyn, (718) 875-5353. This program, operated by the Partnership for the Homeless, furnishes apartments for families who are leaving the New York City shelter system and moving into their own homes. Furniture (especially dressers and sofas) in good, clean & working condition is needed, as well as household items like microwave ovens, drinking glasses, dinner plates, silverware and pots/pans. The families receive all donated items free of charge — including delivery. Please call for pickup/drop-off info. Volunteers are always welcome.

• Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey, (718) 728-5400. Goodwill Industries has programs for people with disabilities, people moving from welfare to work, youth and others with barriers to employment. Its services include education, training, preparing people to enter the workforce and job placement, as well as youth programs. People interested in volunteering as mentors, reading to children, or providing homework help can contact the youth department at (718) 777-6315.

• Materials for the Arts, (718) 729-3001, www.mfta.org Started 26 years ago, this non-profit acts as a middleman between businesses (and individuals) with items they don’t need and arts organizations that need them badly. It can make the difference between an arts organization surviving or shutting down. The most wanted items are: chairs (especially office chairs), computers (no more than four years old), printers, scanners, fax machines, answering machines, phones, household items, office supplies, frames, fabrics, projectors, screens, video equipment, fabric, wallpaper, home decorating supplies, ladders, etc. Cash donations are always welcome.

• My Soldier, (914) 323-5172, www.mysoldier.com. My Soldier is a politically neutral, not-for-profit, adopt-a-soldier program that was started by a student, who is also an Army Sergeant, initiated upon his return from Iraq. The program started last November, with 400,000 people currently signed up to be introduced to a soldier and receive a red rubber “My Soldier” support bracelet. There are 175,000 soldiers deployed in hardship areas that are now receiving personal messages of support and friendship from our participants. For more information call us at (914) 323-5172, or visit us at www.mysoldier.com.

• Peter's Place, 123 West 23rd Street, NYC, (212) 727-0725. Also operated by the Partnership for the Homeless, Peter’s Place provides 24-hour service to the homeless. Donations of gifts for people 50 and above are needed by the second week of December. Clothing and food donations are accepted year-round. To volunteer, call (212) 645-3445.

• Salvation Army, 120 West 14th Street, NYC, (212) 337-7200. The Salvation Army accepts furniture, toys, clothing and non-perishable food at sites in all five boroughs. Call for exact locations.

• Save the Children, www.savethechildren.org. Save the Children, a non-profit organization, has created a colorful new collection of children’s room décor. Their designs are directly inspired by the designs of children who won the Save the Children Art Contest. The collection ranges from bedding to throw rugs, curtains, some furniture and much more. Save the children will be giving a percentage of the proceeds of everything purchased to children in need around the world.

• United Homeless Organization, (718) 933-3668. UHO welcomes donations of clothing, toiletries and blankets. Donations can be dropped off at any UHO table around the city. This year’s focus is clothing, with the highlight on blue jeans. Call for more information.

• United Neighborhood Houses of New York, 70 West 36th Street, NYC, (212) 967-0322, ext. 306. UNH is the umbrella organization for New York City settlement houses. UNH's 36 member agencies make up one of the largest human service systems in NYC, reaching out to families and neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs. Each year, settlement houses deliver social, educational and cultural services and activities to 500,000 New Yorkers. UNH and its member settlements are recruiting volunteers to participate in a wide variety of programs for children and youth, for families, and for the elderly. Donations welcome year-round; visit UNH’s website at www.unhny.org.

• United Way of New York City, (212) 251-2520. United Way of New York City's Gifts-in-Kind Program helps match families, corporations and individuals wishing to donate items with agencies requesting goods for the holidays. Toys should be unwrapped and labeled with the age/gender of the child; gifts for infants and adolescents are always needed. Infant equipment and diapers are also useful. Clothing should be new.


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