With over 59,000 homeless people in New York City, there is never a bad time to volunteer and help is needed year-round. But the holidays are a great time to start. Here is a run-down of places that need extra help as well as resources about where to donate food and toys.
If you want to help New Yorkers down on their luck have an enjoyable Thanksgiving or Christmas meal, there are several ways to do so without having to serve the meal yourself. City Harvest is collecting non-perishable food for their annual Thanksgiving meal, which will feed hundreds of hungry – and thankful — New Yorkers. New York Common Pantry is collecting money donations for their Thanksgiving baskets, which include a turkey, fresh produce and sides. If you want to donate your time, instead of your money, help Boxes of Love put together thousands of Thanksgiving dinner baskets for needy families across the city.
The Bowery Mission will be serving 10,000 people Thanksgiving dinner, which requires a lot of helping hands. You must sign up online ahead of time to volunteer. In Chelsea, the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen serves over 1,000 hungry people meals every day, and the holidays are no exception. Sign up for a volunteer slot on their website.
We may be having a mild fall so far, but this is New York and the weather is bound to take a turn, fast. Give new or gently used coats to New York Cares. The site has information about how to start your own coat drive as well as lists drop off locations. One Warm Coat also has an entensive list of drop-off locations located throughout the city.
Be a kid's hero this holiday season by buying them an inexpensive, yet meaningful gift. Every year, New York Cares collects thousands of letters from local children who share what they want for Christmas. You will be amazed at how simple their wants are. Volunteer to buy, wrap and deliver the toy to the organization and there will be some very happy kids come Christmas morning. The Coalition for the Homeless also hosts an annual toy drive, distributing more than thousands of gifts at NYC shelters. Metro is hosting a toy drive as well, playing Santa to children to write their wish lists. Head to Metro.us/metro-magic for more info.