Tag Archives: bowery mission

Hurricane Sandy Recovery: Donate Locally

4 Nov

There are a number of organizations that do great work in NYC. They were doing it last week, and they continue to do so in the aftermath of Sandy. They feed, shelter, nurse, teach, and support our community of NYC. Some of them lost power, some of them lost everything. Now it’s our turn to help them..

Below is a list of organizations who are currently accepting donations which will go directly towards Hurricane Sandy relief in NY; for some, it will go directly to the people they support. For others, it will go towards rebuilding their headquarters or other damaged services vital to their continued operations.

Food Bank for New York City: As one of the country’s largest food banks, the Food Bank procures and distributes food to a network of more than 1,000 community-based member programs citywide, helping to provide 400,000 free meals a day for New Yorkers in need. In the aftermath of the storm, the need for food is even greater now. To make a donation, click here.

Little Shelter: This no-kill shelter in Huntington, LI has been open since 1927; I got my own dog there 11 years ago. Their facility suffered a lot of damage, including the cattery and second kennel. Staff on site managed to save all of the animals inside, but the buildings need extensive repair. To donate, click here.

The Ali Forney Center: AFC protects lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) youth from the harm of homelessness, and supports them in becoming safe and independent as they move from adolescence to adulthood. Their Drop-In Center in Chelsea was destroyed by flooding. They are currently scrambling for a plan to provide care to desperate kids while preparing to ultimately move into a larger space that will better meet their needs. To read an official statement and donate, click here.

Operation Wesley: Thousands of pets were displaced this week when Hurricane Sandy ripped through the Northeastern US. Operation Wesley wants to bring comfort to these less fortunate pets in New Jersey and New York by delivering pet food and supplies to the hardest hit areas. From now until Saturday, November 10th, they will be accepting mail packages; on Sunday and Monday items will be delivered. For a list of supplies needed and a shipping address, please visit their website: http://operationwesley.org/sandyhelp.html For more information about helping pets, visit the Naked K9’s Facebook Page.

Henry Street Settlement: They open doors of opportunity to enrich lives and enhance human progress for Lower East Side residents and other New Yorkers through social services, arts, and health care programs. They’ve been working tirelessly to help their LES community with food and warmth, even though their own facilities are in need of repair after flood damage from the storm. Please donate by clicking here.

Brooklyn Recovery Fund: This is a joint effort between the Brooklyn Community Foundation, the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President, and the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce to create a pooled fund to provide support to Brooklyn’s nonprofit organizations working with the communities and individuals most affected by Hurricane Sandy. To donate, click here.

Hope for New York: HFNY mission is to provide volunteer and financial resources to organizations serving the poor and marginalized of New York City. They are affiliated with a number of churches and shelters in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, including the Bowery Mission and NYC Rescue Mission. To donate funds or in-kind supplies, visit their website by clicking here.

Please know that I in no way discourage donating to the Red Cross, the Mayor’s Fund for NYC, FEMA, or any other organization helping recovery in our area and beyond. If you’d like to add any other organizations to this list, please email suggestions to giveandgetnyc@gmail.com.

Give Food, Get Food!

13 Nov
2011

[Via Eater] From November 13 – 20, between the hours of 7 AM and 11:30 PM, Nolitan Hotel restaurant Ellabess will collect canned and frozen vegetables, turkeys, potatoes, instant mashed potatoes, pies, and individually wrapped snacks for the Bowery Mission. In exchange for donations, guests will receive a voucher for a complimentary snack or appetizer at the restaurant.

Ellabess is located at the Nolitan Hotel on Elizabeth Street.

Giving to Go

10 Jul

So sometimes at my office we order lunch as a group and everyone eats together, and as a thank you for working hard and making money, the company foots the bill. It becomes very apparent when the food arrives that no one held back when ordering, and the amount of food is significantly more abundant than it would have been had everyone been asked to pay for themselves. “Get an extra pizza, just in case” “Let’s get a couple orders of fries, you know, just for the table” “Eggrolls for everyone! We’re rich!” The result is a ridiculous amount of leftovers that eventually get thrown out.

The problem is that I hate seeing perfectly good food go to waste. On previous occasions, I would combat this problem by eating myself into a food coma; unfortunately, putting your head down on your desk and napping for an hour isn’t as acceptable as it used to be in say, 2nd grade.

My next attempt to save waste was taking leftovers home and eating them for dinner with my boyfriend. There were many problems with this, however. First and most important, is that I ride a bike to and from work. Dangerous as it is riding in NYC, the danger increased ten-fold when I hung bags of pad thai and spring rolls from my handlebars and attempted to navigate through midtown. Also, everyone thought I was crazy. I became the office garbage disposal; I once came back from the restroom to find a half-eaten sandwich on my desk with a note: ‘I thought you might want this -xo’. No, I don’t want your soggy chips and pickles. Mission aborted.

Then I realized one day this past winter, while walking to the subway (I’m not THAT committed of a biker to ride in the cold) that each day, I pass at least one person begging for food and money. It’s a sad reality of living in NYC.  So the next time everyone ordered lunch, I brought one meal with me for my walk home and not surprisingly, there was someone in the subway entrance asking for money. I asked him if he was hungry, and when he said yes I asked if he liked chinese food. He laughed and said yes, so I gave him my General Tso’s Chicken with an egg roll on the side. After that day, I began packing bags of food each time we had leftovers, and handed them out on my way home. Between where I work and home, Herald Square and the 1/2/3 Stop at 72nd Street, I can usually unload 2 or 3 meals. If I can’t find anyone I wind up bringing it home, but I usually have no trouble finding someone hungry.

I’m not sure if this is okay-I know that it would be better to point these people in the direction of a shelter or somewhere to get a hot, free meal. And I have. Is it rude to give someone your leftovers? I don’t think so. They’re hungry. I have food. Seems okay to me. It’s not like I’m having dinner parties with friends and feeding them my co-worker’s scraps.

So maybe you want to try this yourself; here are some tips I can offer based solely on my own experiences:

-Put everything in a bag. I once gave a man an apple and bottle of water while he was begging for change; he thanked me and asked if I had a bag he could put it in-he couldn’t hold his change cup and the apple/water at the same time. It’s not like they can put it in the fridge for later, you know? Bag it.

Don’t go on a 2am crusade through the park by yourself; be safe and smart about who you’re approaching and where. It may be a good idea to avoid the guy wearing wireless headphones who swears to himself and warns anyone within earshot about the impending doom of the Apocalypse.

-If you can, include a fork, knife, and some napkins. Just because they’re hungry doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to eat like a civilized human being.

– Giving them the original containers is best, as I’ve seen homeless people use tupperware and other recycled containers to gather water or other things that they can then save for later.

-Don’t just throw food at someone-ask first. Also, I tend to only approach people with signs or other things that clearly indicate they are in need; it’s probably pretty embarrassing to approach someone who turns out to just be tying their shoe on the ground.

-There are organizations who travel the city handing out food every day, like the Coalition for the Homeless, or the Bowery Mission. If you’re not comfortable doing this solo, get hooked up with one of these agencies and join their fleet.

Have you done this before? If so, what happened? Please feel free to post any questions or comments.

How to Have A Successful Coat Drive

19 Nov

A great way to volunteer your time during the winter is to organize a coat drive. I had one last year and it was very successful: I was able to donate over 60 coats to Homes for the Homeless, an organization that assists homeless families in NYC. Through the process, I learned some do’s and don’ts for hosting a coat drive…

Before you start collecting, you may need to get permission from your landlord, boss, or whoever else may be in charge of the space where you intend to put a coat drive box. I live in a building that has a co-op board and building manager, all of whom had to approve a written proposal that I was asked to submit. I also collected coats at work, and so I needed my managers to give me the okay, since it would undoubtedly lead to (and it did), a large number of coats sitting around for a few days in the office. Some of the questions you should be prepared to answer:

-Where do you intend to store the coats after the box fills up?

-What do you intend to do with coats not suitable for donation?

-Where are you donating the coats?

The answers will vary from person to person, but just be prepared for someone to be annoyed with you and your box full of donations. There is always someone who will rain on your giving parade.

If you plan on having the donation box in your home, be careful where you are advertising your drive: putting an ad on Craigslist or posting flyers on the street may bring some undesirable people your way, and I don’t recommend it. Instead, you can keep the drive small, and tell all your friends and family to bring their donations to your apartment. Alternatively, maybe there is a community center nearby, a bodega, or some other public space, where you can offer to host the drive and take responsibility for clearing out donations.

Now that you have a space to put your box, you have to find one big enough to hold your donations. You can buy boxes at a store like Staples, but that’s going to cost you money and who wants to spend money when you don’t have to? Think about stuff that comes in big boxes: refrigerators, furniture, clothing. Now think of stores that sell these items and give them a call, asking if they have any large boxes (in good condition) they want to get rid of. Chances are, you’ll be able to snag a few boxes and re-use them for your drive. Refrigerator not included.

The next step is finding a place to donate all of the coats you collect. You should have this decision made before you start; if you’re arranging for a pick-up date, you’ll want that day to coincide with the day after your drive ends, so that you’re not storing boxes of stranger’s coats in your home for too long. If you’re donating to another drive, like New York Cares, you can take coats as you get them to drop-off sites, so that you don’t have to worry about storage. Either way, know where the coats are going. I’ll list some places at the end of the post that you can call and ask if they are in need of coat donations.

You should now be ready to start collecting coats! You can click here to download (free) flyers for your drive, and I’ll even personalize it for you if you ask nicely. You can post these flyers in your building or office, or email them to family and friends. Get the word out in advance, so that people have time to look through their closets and say goodbye to their precious coats. Set a definitive time span for your drive, and make sure you’ve mentioned that only RE-USEABLE, GENTLY-USED COATS should be donated. You can also mention on your flyer or email those things that shouldn’t be donated:  gloves, hats, abandoned kittens, garbage, etc. You’d be surprised to find out what some people will put in an unattended box, so it’s wise to be specific…And it’s always a good idea provide contact information for anyone who has questions about what to donate, where their donations are going, etc.

Other things to know:

-Did I mention you can download free flyers here?

-To make your donation box more appealing to prospective donators, wrap it in some festive wrapping paper. Don’t put out a box that is fortified with a roll of duct tape and sagging-its an eyesore and not good for business…

-Tell people where the coats will be donated. It makes the drive more personal to each person if they can say: “Hey, I helped out the Salvation Army today,” instead of “I put my coat in an unmarked box and have no idea where its going. I think the lady on the 6th floor may be stealing coats for resale.”

-After your drive is finished, follow-up with an email or another flyer that says how many coats were collected. If you receive a thank you letter from the organization that received the donation, photocopy and share it. People like to know they’ve made a difference, and it feels good to know you were a part of something.

Find a Place to Donate(Always call ahead before showing up with coats):

NYC Stuff Exchange (will help you find places in your zip code)

New York Cares Coat Drive (December 1-31)

Covenant House

Salvation Army

You can also check with local churches, shelters, synagogues, and other community-centered places to see if they are in need of coats this winter.

There are tons of places to donate, so don’t think that this list is exhaustive. If you’re an organization that is in need of coat donations, please reply below with your information and location!

Email or comment with any additional suggestions for hosting a successful coat drive,or tell us about your own drive and how it went!

Happy Collecting!