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Chocolate for Charity

11 Feb

Before you dive into that cheap box of chocolates from CVS, check out this walking tour in Soho and Greenwich Village. On Sunday, February 13th ‘Walking Tours Manhattan’ will be your guide to all of the best confectioneries in the area. You’ll start with Kee’s Chocolates, and hit up Vosges and The Best Chocolate Cake in the World (yes, thats a store) before arriving at the last stop, Payard Bakery, maker of one of the finest eclairs you’ll ever eat. If you’ve never heard of these places, or are just looking for a nice person to show you around the village and school you on some downtown knowledge, this is your chance!

To help support the good work of the Food Bank For New York City, a non-profit I know and love that helps feed hungry people all over NYC, Walking Tours Manhattan is asking for a $5.00 donation per person. 100% of donations go to charity. If you’d like to donate online, please go to Pay Pal at; and send your contribution to;

Meet your tour guide with the red ball cap saying “Walking Tours Manhattan!” on Sunday February 13, at 11:00am at Kee’s Chocolates, 80 Thompson Street between Spring and Broome. Walking distance is 1 1/4 mile, and the tour lasts about 1 ½ hours. Purchases are optional and not included.


“Do Some Good While Doing Some Bad”

10 Jan

I just came across a post on one of my favorite booze blogs, NY Barfly, and wanted to pass on to my G&G readers. In contrast to the events that I typically post here or even have myself, that allow people to attend and have a good time while giving back, NY Barfly has found a site that lets you give back without leaving the comfort of your own home:

“…what if you can’t make it out of the house (or, if you really, really want to stay in and watch that Jersey Shore marathon that’s playing)? Our friends over at have the solution – they’ve rounded up a selection of hooches that give back. For example, Death’s Door distillery donates a portion of their proceeds to local environmental groups (in addition to using local and organic ingredients to make their labels).” -NY Barfly

To see the full list of world-saving spirits, click here. Don’t forget to cheers to charity!

G&G For the Holidays: Gifts That Give Back

1 Dec

This post is part of the second annual NYC Bloggers Do the Holidays, where a group of New York’s top bloggers join forces to bring you the best that this city has to offer for the holiday season! Check out the list of participating bloggers below. Read them all, and you’ll have no problem navigating this city and taking it for all it’s worth…After the jump, check out my contribution: Gifts that Give Back.

‘the improvised life’: Design (or Hack) Your Own Holiday E-Cards

Manhattan User’s Guide: The Gift Guide: 21 Over $21

Markets of New York: Festive Food at New York’s Holiday Markets

Patell and Waterman’s History of New York: Christmas with Andy Warhol

We Heart Astoria: The Best Places To Shop Local – WHA Holiday Gift Guide


Last year I gave you some tips on where to volunteer all month long (I’ve gone back and updated what I could, so be sure to check it out, and volunteer!). This year, Give and Get will be your guide to shopping for a cause-places to buy gifts while also giving back to your favorite NYC charities. Anyone who receives emails from major retailers is aware of the growing trend of incorporating charitable giving into everyday shopping, especially during this time of year. I’ve tried to compile a list of those who are making contributions to local, New York-based charities, in addition to non-profits who are offering online catalogs that benefit their own organization directly. I’ve also thrown in a few alternative gift ideas that are great for that rich relative who has everything…Read on, my friends, and get ready to knock out your gift list and good deed for the day at the same time.

For people who love kids…

– Retailers owned by participating Friends of Baby Buggy will donate 10% of proceeds to Baby Buggy, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing New York City’s families in need with essential equipment, clothing, and products for their infants and young children. You’ll need a special code at checkout to make sure the donation is made-listed below:

  • Gift Hero: Carries gifts for age 0-10. Code: BUGGY2010
  • Kirna Zabete: Soho shop that carries designers such as Lanvin, Givenchy, Celine, Proenza Schouler and more. Code: KZLOVESBABYBUGGY
  • Baby CZ: A luxury line of cashmere, cotton and silk clothes & accessories for babies, children and women. Code: BUGGY
  • Felix Rey: An ultra-feiminine luxury accessories brand. Code: BUGGY10

For food-loving NYC locals…

God’s Love We Deliver, a popular non-profit organization that delivers food daily to home-bound New Yorkers, delivers more than just meals during the holiday season. Clients receive gift baskets full of delicious treats (and meals), all delivered in shopping bags decorated by school children. You can purchase gifts from their holiday catalog, including GLWD aprons and oven mitts, wine glasses and more, with proceeds benefiting the organization. With demand for their services up 21% in just the first three months of the current fiscal year, a purchase from here will be more important than ever before.


Going once, going twice…

Bidding For Good is an online auction platform that allows non-profit organizations to set up fundraising auctions for themselves that maximize their reach and potential to raise more money. You can search by cause and/or state, or just by auction items, which range from restaurant gift certificates to all-inclusive vacations, all benefiting a specific charity! This is a great site to use if you’re a fan of Ebay, or want to find a specific cause to give to while you shop..The auctions run for a few weeks, so be sure to check back for new causes and items throughout the month. Currently running is an auction to benefit the West Side YMCA Teen Center; it’s running until December 10th at 9pm- bid now!


For your tchotchke-loving friend or coworkers…

Exit 9 has been called a cross between a museum gift shop and a kitschy toy store. After passing by last weekend, I can confirm that it is in fact, just that. You’ll be able to find gag gifts, iPod accessories, children’s craft kits and everything in between. My favorite were the bandaids that look like strips of bacon (which I got for my 6-yr old nephew). More importantly, they’re encouraging people to shop locally while supporting local charities. During their ’12 Days of Charity’ promotion (December 1st-12th) you’ll be able to choose which of the eight local non-profit organizations they’ve listed will receive 10% of profits. Organizations include: BARC Brooklyn Animal Rescue Coalition, GenerationOn, God’s Love We Deliver, LES Girls Club, Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance, Public School 58Public School 261, Transportation Alternatives. You can shop online, or find even more merchandise at one of their two retail locations (in Brooklyn and on the LES)


For the person who has everything and enough money to buy it if they don’t…

– Let’s call this person Charlie. Charlie is the hardest person to get gifts for. Unless it’s perishable, you’re likely getting him something he already has, or doesn’t want. In the past few years, I’ve taken a departure from the traditional gifts and began to give donations in other people’s names. It’s a really personal gesture that will (hopefully) make them much more appreciative of your gift than last year’s wine stopper or coaster set. More specific ideas for your Charlie:

  • Does your Charlie love the outdoors? Make a donation to MillionTreesNYC or Fresh Air Fund. An avid gardner? Help fund a project on ioby (‘in our backyards’). Whatever you choose, just be sure to Charlie that you’ve made a donation in his honor. Check out ‘the improvised life‘ blog for more tips on double-duty gifts and cards, and Cards That Give, a great source for charity greeting cards.
  • If you want to get a little more sentimental, you can request/pick up a letter to Santa (depending on your budget-gifts requested are usually under $40-maybe more than one). You can fulfill a child’s wish by sending them their gift from Santa on Charlie’s behalf. Give the child’s letter to Charlie with a note that says something along the lines of “In lieu of a gift, I’ve given this little girl the Barbie she always wanted and couldn’t afford, on your behalf..” You can get these letters from the James A Farley Building in midtown. (New York Cares runs a similar program but registration has closed)
  • If your Charlie is a little more global-minded, you can gift something even bigger, with long-lasting effects. Heifer International allows you to donate sheep, llamas, goats and more, to impoverished children and families around the world, and help them receive training and animal gifts that help them become self-reliant. After your donation, you’ll have the opportunity to create a printable gift card or e-card to tell Charlie that you’ve honored him with a Heifer gift. (Update: It’s been brought to my attention that there are differing opinions regarding HI’s practices and their ethical merit. Read here about another point of view. Charity Navigator is one place to check on how donations are distributed by NPOs- know who you’re donating to before you donate, always)


So there you have it.. some different places to cross people off your list while giving back to some NYC non-profits. Did I miss something? It’s likely! If you’ve got something to add, please comment below or email to

TimeBanksNYC Studio Art Class with a Purpose

11 Jun

On Thursday, June 17th from 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm, a member of TimeBanksNYC  will be teaching a hands on workshop on still life and charcoal drawing. The teacher has an MFA in Studio Art, so whether you’re looking to relive those days of high school art class or want to see what life would have been like had you chosen art school over a business degree, now’s your chance to experience the real thing. Everything you need will be provided (drawing pads, vine charcoal, and kneaded erasers).

The event will take place at 119 Ninth Ave between 17th and 18th, in the conference room of Hudson Guild’s Fulton Center. It’s a members-only event, but you can join right on the spot by filling out a short application and signing the member agreement. All attendees must RSVP to or 866-244-6469 (space is limited, so don’t wait!).

This event will give you a chance to see what TimeBanksNYC has to offer and learn more about how the program works.  Through a simple exchange program, it is a way for people to share their skills, spread their passions, meet neighbors, and support each other. For every hour you volunteer your skills to help someone else in the network, you earn a credit that you can then redeem for one hour of help yourself. Want to learn spanish? Need help cleaning your apartment? There is someone in TimeBanks network willing to volunteer, for you! I recently joined this organization and am excited to begin exchanging services. You can expect a lengthy post with more details on this program once I’ve banked a few hours…

Happy Holidays from Peter Buffet

11 Dec

I recently came across a really cool digital calendar, brought to you by Peter Buffett, that I wanted to share. Throughout the month of December leading up to Christmas Day, you can go to the website and open a virtual door to reveal one way to give back to your community or contribute to global programs. Since it’s already December 11th, feel free to go back in time to December 1st and start the month a’new, to see past tips from Buffett on how to give back this holiday season. Past days have already included links to organizations like Operation Santa Claus, Women for Women International, and Feeding America.

In addition to holiday giving tips, you can also listen and download music from Peter Buffett’s new CD “Star of Wonder”, a collection of Christmas classics. You can also hear excerpts from his upcoming book Life Is What You Make It, due out in April 2010 (which I really like the cover art for).

Peter Buffett, an American musician, composer, and producer, is the second son of investor Warren Buffett. His music is largely affected by his extensive involvement in social action and philanthropy, both here in America and abroad. In 2008, Buffett teamed up with Grammy-nominated and international recording artist Akon to launch the website, which is dedicated to educating the public about the realities of human trafficking, using social networking to create social action.

Hungry for more festive reads? Check out more holiday tips from other NYC Bloggers, from what to buy, how to wrap it, and where to eat and drink when you’re done… All part of  “NYC Bloggers Do The Holidays”
Brooklyn Based: Home for the Holidays
the improvised life: unwrapping the holidays
Manhattan User’s Guide: The Gift Guide
Patell & Waterman’s History of New York: A little history with your holidays
The Strong Buzz: Holiday Eats Old and New