Archive | November, 2010

NYC Bloggers Do the Holidays, Again!

29 Nov

I’m very excited to announce that Give and Get NYC will once again be participating in the second annual NYC Bloggers ‘Do the Holidays’ group post. On Wednesday, December 1st, some of New York’s top bloggers will join forces to unleash a flurry of holiday tips and tidbits, from history and children’s activities, to shopping, music, art and more! We have some new bloggers this year, including:  This Is FYF , Markets of New York , Eater’s Digest , A Child Grows , and Art Fag City .

For an idea of what to expect, check out last year’s bloggers:

Brooklyn Based: Home for the Holidays
Give and Get NYC: Tis The Season to Volunteer
the improvised life: unwrapping the holidays
Patell & Waterman’s History of NY: A little history with your holidays
The Strong Buzz: Holiday Eats Old and New
WFMU’s Beware of the Blog: Happy Freakin’ Holidays Playlist
Walking Off the Big Apple: The Thin Man Walk

Monday Nights at God’s Love

24 Nov

This week is clearly a good time to give back and be thankful for what you have. I had signed up to volunteer with a group who was distributing Thanksgiving groceries (turkey, cranberry sauce, the whole 9) on Sunday, but received an email a few days prior telling me that pantry had lost a major donor and would not have enough food to warrant all the volunteers they had planned on having. I was really sad for a few reasons, number one being that a lot of families would be going without the traditional Thanksgiving day meal this year, which seems almost un-American and breaks my heart. Another reason was that I was left with little time to find another holiday opportunity, since things fill up so quickly this time of year, and it was really important to me that I give back this week. Luckily, my friend McKenzie volunteers weekly with God’s Love We Deliver and was able to get me a spot on the chopping block (almost literally) with her Monday night team of regulars.

I was greeted by the fabulous, super-enthusiastic, Volunteer Services Specialist Emily, who gave me a short form to fill out before heading downstairs to the kitchen (since I’ve volunteered here before, I got to skip the kitchen safety speech). After putting on a very fashionable hair net, tying on an apron and washing my hands, I was ready to get down and dirty with… mushrooms! We chopped up boxes of mushrooms that would be used in a meal for the next day while chatting away. After those were done, we moved on to kidney bean sorting; this consisted of dumping handfuls of beans at a time onto a tray and sorting the bunch for rocks and other small items that are the same size as beans but not nearly as delicious. Apparently when buying beans in bulk that are machine-sorted, there is a tendency for bean-like things to pass through unnoticed, and since no one likes to eat rocks (except maybe this guy–ew), God’s Love takes the extra time to make sure their beans are, well, all beans. After 100 lbs were declared rock-free by our group of eight, we finished off the night chopping onions.

Emily came back into the kitchen for a quick pep talk and thank you to all the volunteers, and announced the meal that would be served the next day and for Thanksgiving. She does this every night (with gusto!), and I think it’s a great way to connect the volunteers to the rest of the organization; you could spend two hours in the kitchen chopping or packing food with no idea what happens next. It’s nice to have someone come in and tell you exactly what those mushrooms were for, and how many people will benefit from your hard work (we had helped to prepare 1,800 the night I was there!). We cleaned and sanitized our station tables, said our goodbyes, and that was all she wrote.

One thing I loved about volunteering that night was to be able to participate and interact with the regulars. I’m typically pretty shy when it comes to meeting new people, but with my friend there, I was able to jump right into conversation while we chopped away. It also made me realize one of the downsides to volunteering somewhere different each week: I don’t really get a chance to create personal bonds, only fleeting friendships that last a few hours. The Monday night team knows each other; they greet each other with hugs, ask how this one’s daughter is or how that one’s vacation went. It’s a group of people, from different backgrounds I’m sure, that all have one common interest which creates a special bond that will surely last a lifetime, regardless of how long they stay with God’s Love in the kitchen. I’m thankful that they let me into the circle for a few hours.

Just as important, is that God’s Love We Deliver is prepared to cook, package and deliver over 3,000 meals tomorrow!* You can read here about the weekend leading up to the big Turkey Day, which was chock full of activity, from the Annual Race to Deliver to filling and decorating 1,850 holiday baskets: .



*They may still be in need of people with cars to help with the huge delivery; if you’ve got one and are able to help out, email or  call 212.294.8158 with any questions.

Toy Drive for VISIONS Services for the Blind

19 Nov

Help TimeBanksNYC bring toys to visually impaired children and families through their holiday toy drive supporting VISIONS Services for the Blind at Selis Manor! The toy drive is currently struggling to collect donations, so every individual’s contribution can help! Staff will be collecting toys at their Hudson Guild site (address below) and in exchange, each donor will receive cookies as a thank you gift!

They are looking for YOU to help donate a toy or bake cookies (or both)!  Please donate a toy, book (audio and/or large print), music CDs, or anything else, for children ages 0-18 years old. Some suggestions:
– Toys that make noise (have bells, sounds, music, etc.)
– Have different textures, shapes, etc.
– Have large parts and are sturdy

Toy collection will take place from Monday, November 22nd through Thursday December 2nd (excluding Thanksgiving Day) from 10am until 4 pm. Drop off your new, unwrapped toy and/or cookies to the TimeBanksNYC table at Hudson Guild during these dates and spread some holiday cheer!  If you’re already a TimeBanks member, you will receive time credits for participating; if you’re not a member, check out their website because you may want to be one!

The Hudson Guild is located at 441 W. 26th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues. If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail

*All donations must be new and in their original packaging*

Sponsored by

TimeBanks NYCand Bridging the Gap

VISIONS at Selis Manor and NYC Museum School

Gobble Gobble Give.

11 Nov

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, and you know what that means: you’ll soon be eating the biggest, most delicious meal of the year followed by a  delightfully acceptable food coma immediately afterward. Unfortunately,  not everyone in this city will be able to celebrate and give thanks,  because they may not be able to afford the basic necessities, let alone a stuffed turkey with all the fixin’s. Luckily, there are a lot of  organizations that will be delivering food over the next week leading up to (and on) Thanksgiving day. Here are a few that may need your help:


Yorkville Common Pantry: Located on the Upper East Side/East Harlem line, this is one of the city’s largest food pantries. Every year they have a Turkey Drive that runs from late August all the way up to Thanksgiving Day. A $30 donation is enough to give Thanksgiving Dinner to a family of 5; YCP serves about 2,000 families in need, so as you can imagine, they need a lot of turkeys. They may also need a hand organizing and distributing the donations from their pantry. Please contact Stefana Soitos at 917-720-9722, or at for more information about donating turkeys, and visit the website for information about the abundant volunteer opportunities they have available.


God’s Love We Deliver: They need delivery volunteers to deliver their clients’ meals and Thanksgiving baskets all over NYC and parts of New Jersey on the morning of Thursday, November 25th.  You must have a car and a partner to deliver. Please contact Emily at for details. Sidenote: They will also be delivering their Winter Holiday meal on Friday, December 24th (aka Christmas Eve day). If you want to plan ahead, email Emily and let her know you’ll be able to help out.


City Meals-On-Wheels: Much like God’s Love, Meals-On-Wheels will likely need help preparing and delivering meals next week to the home-bound clients that they serve. Visit their website for more information about volunteering, and let them know you’re able to help on Thanksgiving.


Coalition for the Homeless: This organization delivers food, clothing and blankets by truck to 31 stops in Manhattan and the Bronx. The Grand Central Food program has three vans that operate 6:30-9:30 p.m. every night of the year, including Thanksgiving. Visit the website to see the full routes, and for more information about volunteering, please email


St John’s Bread and Life: This pantry is located in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. There are a slew of volunteer opportunities available, so contact them and find out where they may need some extra hands next week (or in general!): the main Soup Kitchen serves breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday, the food pantry is open 5 days a week, and the Mobile Soup Kitchen -a compact, mobile extension of Bread and Life- serves daily hot meals and provides outreach services to a number of New York City’s most impoverished communities located in East New York, Brownsville, Jackson Heights, Coney Island and Williamsburg.


Love Kitchen: Join the NYC Urban Project on Saturday, November 20th, as they pack and serve 500 lunches for those in need of a meal in Washington Heights for “Feed 500” from 9am-5pm. You’ll not only be packing the lunches, but you’ll take to the streets to deliver them while sharing a story or two. This is more than a food delivery to the needy; this is an attempt to connect you to the people that you’re helping, taking away the barrier of coming from different places, and just enjoying a meal. Visit the Urban Project website for more details about what you’ll need, and if you’re interested in volunteering please contact . You can go solo or with a group, and if the 9-5 shift seems like too much, you’re also able to choose between a morning or afternoon shift.


Church of the Holy Trinity: On the days leading up to Thanksgiving, Holy Trinity will need volunteers to prepare and package food. On Thanksgiving day, volunteers heat and prepare food for takeout, and deliver meals to recipients’ homes. Shifts are spread out over various days and hours, so it looks like a good fit for someone with a busy 9-5 type job. To volunteer, email Lydia Colon. If you miss out on Thanksgiving, check out their website for more year-round opportunities.


Updated 11/11 Feeding NYC: They need over 300 people to help assemble, pack and deliver meals for Thanksgiving, and are hoping to reach 8,000 families this year. Visit their website to read more about the organization, and fill out this form to sign up for volunteering on November 23rd during one of the 5 shifts available. If you can’t make it on the 23rd, you can go to the Hudson Terrace on November 18th instead; Feeding NYC will be having a cocktail party to help raise money for all the Thanksgiving meals they’ll be giving out (tickets are $35 or $105. Details here)


Updated 11/23: Time Out New York listed some more opportunities on their website. Check it out for some last minute ideas!


So there you have it. Before you sit down for the gluttony that is a Thanksgiving Day feast, take a few hours to give back to others less fortunate than you. Trust me, it’ll make you feel truly thankful for all that you have.


Are you an organization that needs volunteers for the holidays? Do you know of opportunities available? Contact me at or comment below so I can add to this post!

A Benefit ‘In Our Backyards’

5 Nov

For the past few months, something big has been brewing inside the ioby office on 6th Avenue. ioby, which stands for “in our backyards”, operates under the belief that environmental knowledge, innovation, action, and service begin and thrive in our backyards. They were founded in 2008, with a beta site launching in May of ’09, and have since enabled over 30 environmental projects to be completed with the help of online microphilanthropy. Now in their second year of operation, they’re ready to formally introduce themselves to New York City and begin taking over the world… Okay, maybe not the world, but you get the point.

“A Benefit In Our Backyards”, ioby’s First Annual Gala at Brooklyn Brewery on November 11th, will showcase the 2010 Heroes In Our Backyards; these are eight groups and/or individuals that have completed projects funded through that exemplify leadership in environmental innovation and community organizing. The Heroes will be put on display via a gallery created by students from Parsons The New School.

In addition to the custom gallery, ioby has gotten the backing of various corporate, food and beverage sponsorships to ensure that this event is a huge success. Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect at the Gala on November 11th:

– Food provided by Whole Foods Markets will be turned into tasty comestibles by Amanda Cohen of Dirt Candy. Chef Joe from Joe Doe will also be providing some delicious snacks.

– In addition to Brooklyn Brewery donating their space for night, they are also tapping the kegs and pouring their world-famous brews all night. There will also be a custom ioby cocktail available, made possible by Tuthilltown Spirits, which is the main ingredient in your new favorite drink, the Backyard Blazer.

Gotham Project Riesling is also providing a keg(!) of wine for you to enjoy. Yes, a keg of wine. Why didn’t anyone think of this sooner?

-Fantastic raffle prizes and a silent auction of goodies from Patagonia, Kombucha Brooklyn, Green in BKLYN, Green Fitness Studio and much, much more!

There will be a limited number of tickets available to purchase at the door, but you can save some money and buy online now before they sell out! If you can’t come but would like to donate, you can do so by clicking here. As always, volunteers are also an invaluable asset to this organization, both for the event and for the projects that they fund. If you’re interested in volunteering, email If you want to volunteer specifically for this event, you can also email me at

If you have questions about ioby as an organization, about submitting a project, about donating to a project, or want to tell us about important environmental work in your neighborhood, email