Tag Archives: food pantry

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 ssoitos@ycp.org 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 efindley@glwd.org 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 volunteer@cfthomeless.org.


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 nycurbanproject@gmail.com . 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 info@giveandgetnyc.com or comment below so I can add to this post!


‘Tis the Season to Volunteer

1 Dec

As part of the first ever “NYC Bloggers Do the Holidays,” Give & Get will be your ultimate guide to volunteering in NYC during the holiday season. At the end of this post you’ll find a list of 12 other dedicated New York blogs participating. Read them all, and you’ll have all your bases covered when it comes to this holiday season in NYC…

If you’re looking to give back to NYC this holiday season, you’ve come to the right place. From volunteering your time to donating presents, I’ve got you covered. There are endless opportunities available in this city, and this guide should provide a way to get you started…

For Santa’s…

  • An easy way to give back during the holiday season is, well, to give. Today (December 1st) starts Operation Santa in NYC, which is a program run by the US Postal Service. Each year, thousands of needy children write letters to Santa, asking for things that their families cannot afford to buy them, from video games and toys to warm clothing and diapers for their siblings. Operation Santa allows people to answer these children’s letters and send them the gifts that they would have otherwise gone without. You can head to the James A. Farley Building on 8th Avenue to pick up a letter between now and Christmas Eve.
  • New York Cares runs a ‘Winter Wishes‘ program, which is similar to Operation Santa, but they also allow team giving which enables you and your coworkers or friends to fulfill a TON of wishes (individuals can take up to 20 letters, teams can take a lot more). They screen over 32,000 letters from children, teens, and families living in New York City.

There are also many places in the city that have holiday parties and drives, where you can donate gifts and celebrate at the same time! Here are just a few:

  • Toy Drive at the Village Pourhouse : On December 8th, head to the Village Pourhouse with a new toy to donate and you’ll receive a drink on the house! You can get details and RSVP with OneBrick, who is hosting the event. UPDATED 12/1/10: This years toy drive will take place on Tuesday, December 14th-same place, same deal!
  • UJA Federation of NY has some great opportunities listed for holiday giving, including a Holiday Gift Bag Delivery on December 16th at the JASA center (Jewish Association for Services for the Aged) in Chelsea. They need volunteers to organize drives for supplies to put inside the gift bags (in advance), and you can help deliver the gifts to homebound seniors that night. On December 20th, you can help throw a Chanukah party at Selfhelp (organization for Holocaust Survivors) in Pelham Parkway, Bronx. Go to the UJA website for all the details and contact info: Go to site>>
  • Inner-City Scholarship Fund is having a Christmas Party on December 12th, thrown by their junior committee for the kids in grades 1-3. There will be ornament decorating, card-making stations and other activities for kids to participate in. Volunteers who wish to sign up should email ICSFJC@gmail.com with “Christmas Party” in the subject line, and you’ll receive more details as the event approaches.

For Santa’s Little Helpers…

The holiday season is a great time to introduce your kids to the world of volunteering. At a time when they are being showered with gifts and love, it’s nice to take some time to explain that not all children are able to enjoy the holidays. Some activities you can do with your little ones that don’t take a lot of time, can go a long way in showing them that they can help other people have a better  holiday:

  • Your children can spend some time making ‘Happy Holidays’ cards, that you can drop off at a local senior center or organization that visits homebound seniors, hospitals, or other places where people may be lonely and need some cheering up. It’s a fun, inexpensive project you can do together.
  • When you go shopping for gifts, allow your child to pick out one gift to give to someone else. It doesn’t have to be expensive, and it will make them feel good knowing that another kid will get the awesome gift they picked out (see above for places to donate toys..)
  • Check out Mommy Poppins post “Holiday Charity and Volunteering with Kids in NYC” for more kid-friendly ideas.

For Rudolph’s…

Rudolph helped lead Santa’s sleigh through the night, and you can lead your own volunteer project just like him. Organizing a drive to collect goods is a great way to give back without having to spend money. Always remember to call ahead to any place you intend to donate to make sure they can take your collection!

  • Hold a food drive in your office, apartment building, or local community center (for do’s and don’ts of collection, see my previous post about coat drives). You can use the NYC Coalition Against Hunger website to locate a food pantry or soup kitchen by zip code. (this is also a great resource for finding volunteer opportunities nearby).
  • Start a coat drive; it’s easy and helps clear space in your closet-a win-win I think. You can donate to a local church or synagogue, shelters, Goodwill or Salvation Army store, OR, you can get in on New York Cares Annual Coat Drive action by hosting a drive yourself and then delivering your coats to their Manhattan warehouse. New York Cares will provide you with flyers and posters for your drive, or if you choose to donate elsewhere, you can download flyers here from me.
  • Brooklyn Based had a great post about giving back in Brooklyn, from volunteering time to donating goods. Check out the “Causes We Can Believe In” post.

For Elves…

One of the best ways to give back is to give your time to someone else. A few hours volunteering costs nothing but time, and it means a lot to the people you’re giving it to. I’ve mentioned a few places already that have special holiday volunteer events, but there are endless opportunities in NYC to give back all year round. Here are just a few organizations that make it really easy to find a project. Feel free to look at some of my previous posts to read about specific projects I’ve done.

  • New York Cares is the most well-known volunteer organization in NYC, and for good reason. According to their website, more than 48,000 people volunteer year after year, giving their time to over 400,000 disadvantaged New Yorkers. After a short orientation, you can choose from hundreds of projects to participate in. Go to their website for more information. At the very least, New York Cares website can be used to give you an idea of what is available.
  • Street Project has a limited group of opportunities, making it less overwhelming if you have a hard time deciding what type of activity you want to do, and besides setting up your account, there isn’t much you have to do before signing up for your first project.
  • NYC Service allows you to search for different activities by borough, area of interest, and level of priority; there are a lot of opportunities for people with special skills such as accountants, artists, grant writers, etc.
  • One Brick has various “commitment-free volunteering” opportunities listed by day, and most projects occur after regular work hours, enabling busy professionals to volunteer during the week or on weekends.

Just Give…

Got stuff to get rid of? If its in good condition, you can probably donate it; from cell phones to bed linens to pet supplies. Here are some links to help find a place to donate near you:


If you are an organization that has holiday volunteering projects you’d like to share, post them below in the comment box!


NYC Bloggers Do the Holidays

Click on each of these links to read from great blogs, for and by New Yorkers. Read them all and you’ll be an NYC Holiday expert in no time…

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

WFMU’s Beware of the Blog: Happy Freakin’ Holidays Playlist

If you have a NYC blog or website and would like to participate in a future group post, email me at info@giveandgetnyc.com