November 2013 - NYC Family Volunteer Opportunities

DGT November 2013 New York City Family Volunteer Opportunities


November 2013 DGT New York Family Volunteer Opportunities

 DGT Color Logo

November  2013 - New York 
Volunteer Opportunities
for Families 

Halloween Candy Buy-Back  

Operation Gratitude 


Date/Time: Check with participating local dentists; candy should be shipped to Operation Gratitude by mid-November


Location: On November 1st, the piles of leftover Halloween candy at your house may be overwhelming. Consider having your children keep a few of their favorites, and donating the rest to a very good cause. Through Operation Gratitude's Halloween Candy Buy-Back program, local dentists promise to "buy back" left over Halloween candy with prizes, toothbrushes, coupons, etc. Search their website by zip code for participating local dental practices. The candy is donated to Operation Gratitude, a non-profit that sends over 100,000 care packages annually to service members stationed in hostile regions, to their children left behind, and to veterans. Their mission is simple: to put a smile on soldiers' faces and to show the appreciation and support of the American people. If you cannot find a local dentist who is participating in the Halloween Buy-Back program, Operation Gratitude will accept donations of unopened packages directly. The Operation Gratitude website provides important packaging and shipping information. Consider asking your children to write a letter or draw a picture to include with your donation, as Operation Gratitude strives to include these personal notes in every care package they send.


Ages: Everyone can participate  


Time Commitment: Flexible


Contact: or



The Thousand Turkey Challenge  

West Side Campaign Against Hunger


Date/Time: Drop off turkeys at WSCAH on Monday and Tuesday, November 25 & 26 from 9am-8 pm or Wednesday, November 27 from 9am-noon.


Location: 263 West 86th Street, in the basement of the Church of St. Paul & St. Andrew (Between West End Avenue and Broadway)
West Side Campaign Against Hunger provides Thanksgiving turkeys to low-income families. Last year, thanks to the Challenge, over 1800 families visiting the emergency food pantry received turkeys and other special food for the holiday. Note: There is a Gristedes supermarket next door to the WSCAH on the corner of 86th and Broadway.  You can purchase your turkey there and take it right next door. Small turkeys up to 14 pounds are strongly preferred. Spread the word to your friends! 


Ages: Everyone can participate 


Time Commitment: Flexible





Feeding NYC 2013

Feeding NYC


Date/Time: Tuesday, November 26; several shifts, beginning at 6am


Location: Pier 60/Chelsea Piers - 23rd Street and West Side Highway
FeedingNYC is a grass roots organization that relies on the generosity of volunteers to help provide Thanksgiving dinners to thousands of families in need throughout New York City. FeedingNYC has delivered over 43,000 complete Thanksgiving meals to sheltered families for 12 years! You may sign up to join over 400 volunteers to pack and deliver thousands of Thanksgiving meals to local families and shelters.    


Ages: All ages can participate. Volunteers under 18 must be accompanied by adult and have a signed waiver


Time Commitment: Two to three hours, depending on shift





Keeping it Green for Families  

Central Park Conservancy


Date/Time: Sunday, November 17, 10 am-noon


Location: Central Park Conservancy. Various locations within Central Park
Work together as a family to help keep Central Park green. Activities include spreading mulch, raking leaves and doing other important jobs in the Park. Led by environmental educators, projects take place throughout the Park. Participants should dress to get dirty and wear closed-toe shoes only. Gloves and tools are provided. Space is limited and advance registration is required.


Ages: Families with children age 5 and over; maximum of 3 children per parent/guardian


Time Commitment: Two hours


Contact:, 212.310.6600 



The Race To Deliver - Celebrating 20 Years!  

God's Love We Deliver


Date/Time: Sunday, November 24; Adult race @ 8:30am, Kids' Races @ 10am


Location: Central Park
The Race to Deliver is one of GLWD's largest annual fundraisers. It is a 4 mile run/walk in Central Park, followed by multiple-distance Kids' Races. The race is a symbol of the daily race to ensure that no person ever has to face the unthinkable combination of illness and hunger. To date, nearly 88,000 caring New Yorkers have participated, with 5,000 more anticipated this year. You may sign up for the races, join a team, sponsor a runner or sponsor a team, all through their website.


Ages: All ages can participate


Time Commitment: Up to several hours depending on which races you run


Contact:, 212.294.8119. Online race registration available



New York Cares 25th Annual Coat Drive  

New York Cares  


Date/Time: Now through February 7


Location:Donation sites are located across the city, in police stations, at major transportation terminals and at participating merchants. Check website for details on drop-off locations. You may also consider setting up a personal collection site/coat drive in your apartment building, church/temple, school or office.
It is never too early to start collecting coats for the New York Cares Coat Drive. As the weather begins to get colder, New York Cares starts to distribute coats to their Community Partners. You may donate gently used coats at any one of the public donation sites, or you may start your own family coat drive. Starting November 12, you can drop off your coats at the New York Cares Coat Drive warehouse, located in mid-town Manhattan. Please check back then for the address. Coat recipients include churches, schools and shelters, all of which serve New York's most in-need populations.  Adult and child-sized coats are needed.


Ages: All ages can participate


Time Commitment: Flexible


Contact:, 212.228.5000 


Two Great Holiday Gifts that Give Back!
Doing Good Together


Location:  Order online. Your young recipient can enjoy these gifts right at home
Have kids on your gift-giving list? Looking for something you feel GOOD about giving? With these two gifts, ALL the proceeds benefit nonprofits that serve children and families. In addition, the gifts themselves teach children about the joy of doing for others. Most important of all, though, children will LOVE these fabulous presents.

Big-Hearted Families Book Club 

Each month your recipient will receive one high-quality children's book, along with a kindness activity and an original recipe. Turn family night into a book-centered kindness practice! Choose between a one-month, three-month or full-year subscription. (You can decide which month your subscription will begin.) Learn more & subscribe at our Big-Hearted Families shop. 


Crafts with Kindness Kits
Your family can make a difference, right from your kitchen table! Crafts with Kindness is an all-in-one craft kit that makes it easy for families to complete a meaningful service project, no matter how busy their schedule might be. (Note: Must order by November 10. This kit ships on November 15.) Learn more & purchase your kits today:  


Ages: Most appropriate for children 3-8 years old  


Contact:Laurie at with any questions


Chanukah Visitors for the Elderly  



Date/Time:  Choose one evening, Wednesday, November 27 or Sunday-Wednesday, December 1-4


Location: At the home of an elderly person in the community - typically Upper East or Upper West Side
Set aside one night of Chanukah to light the menorah with an elderly client of Dorot. Together, you and your family will create a memorable and meaningful Chanukah tradition, while fulfilling the mitzvot (commandment) of lighting Chanukah candles with a homebound elder who may have no family with whom to celebrate the holiday. Your family will be assigned to an elder and you call them to schedule a time to visit and deliver a care package from Dorot filled with treats, a small menorah and candles.


Ages: All ages, perfect for families


Time Commitment: Home visits should last between 30 minutes and an hour


Contact: Shelley Levine,, 917.441.5051 



Stock & Shop  

Food Bank New York


Date/Time: Tuesday-Friday, various times


Location: Food Bank Pantry in West Harlem
Hunger shouldn't come without dignity. Help families bring food home from our pantry in West Harlem so they can share a meal with their family. Organize donations, guide families through food selection, and stock food for the next day's pantry.


Ages: Thirteen and over with adult


Time Commitment: Approximately three hours


Contact:, 212.566.7855 ext. 8350



Plan a Thanksgiving Food Drive   

City Harvest


Date/Time: Flexible


Location: As we celebrate the Thanksgiving Holiday in November, consider organizing your own food drive to help City Harvest feed New York City's hungry men, women, and children.


How to Plan a Food Drive:  

  1. Choose collection sites that are both highly visible and secure
  2. Call 646.412.0758 or email City Harvest to arrange a pickup date ( City Harvest will send one of their food rescue trucks to pick up donations of more than 100 pounds.
  3. Put up City Harvest food drive posters at the collection sites a week or two before the start of the drive--we'll supply the posters, just call 646.412.0758, email us, or download the poster here.
  4. All types of canned and packaged goods are welcome, but no perishable foods please! This helps keep your collection site insect-free and ensures that all food collected is safe for consumption.
  5. The most needed foods are
  • canned fruit
  • canned vegetables
  • peanut butter (plastic jars)
  • mac and cheese (packaged)
  • hot and cold cereal (packaged, family-sized)    

Be creative with your food drive and HAVE FUN!


Ages: Everyone can participate 


Time Commitment: Flexible


Contact: For more information or to schedule a food pickup, please call 646.412.0758 or email City Harvest at or the food sourcing team at


Gobble Gobble Give NYC Event  

Gobble Gobble Give


Date/Time: Thanksgiving morning, Thursday, November 28.  Start time is at 10 am but slots are filled on a first come, first serve basis so plan to arrive early.  There are also early bird volunteers needed, starting as early as 7:30am.  


Location: Church of the Intercession, 550 West 125th Street
Gobble Gobble Give is a volunteer-run organization that collects "pot-luck" dishes, along with toiletry items and blankets, and delivers a hot meal and care package to the homeless around the city on Thanksgiving Day. All work is completed by 1pm so that volunteers can go home and enjoy the holiday with family. Volunteer tasks include: early bird helpers, kitchen crew, conveyor belt crew, food boxers, vehicle coordinators, drivers, and clean-up crew. You can check the Gobble Gobble Give website for more detailed descriptions of volunteer tasks. It is not imperative to specify your position in advance. Just keep in mind what it is that you want to do when you arrive. It will help us get you right in to the action. Early birds just arrive early.

Volunteers are asked to bring the following:  

  • AN ALREADY HEATED DISH. This is a potluck event. Your dish can be as little as a side of vegetables or it can be three large bowls of your grandma's famous "cranberry walnut stuffing". We can always use Turkeys and main course items. Side dishes are great as well; mashed potatoes, yams, vegetables, greens, etc. Desserts are always awesome too.
  • FIVE (5) SMALL TOILETRY KITS. Each kit should include a: toothbrush/toothpaste, soap and shampoo. You can get these items very inexpensively at $0.99 stores.
  • CLOTHING AND BLANKETS. Please bring any used blankets and/or gently used sweaters, jackets, shirts, socks, shoes, beanies/hats for men, women, children.

At 10:15am we begin a large "conveyor Belt" of food and with the everyone's help  we put the meals together. We box them up together with care packages of toothbrushes, soap, clothes, etc. At around 11am the first vehicles begin to roll out. If you want to be a driver we will put a few people in your car with you and you will go out in two or three car teams. We hit the riverbeds, the alleys, the freeway overpasses. Sometimes we discover small villages of people in dirt fields and empty lots. The vehicles return to the church after delivering all the meals.  


Pre-registration is not required however volunteer spots fill up quickly, so arrive early!  


Ages: All ages are welcome; children must be accompanied by an adult


Time Commitment: Varies, depends on volunteer position 





Holiday Mail for Heroes


Date/Time: Cards need to be received no later than Friday, December 6. Holiday cards received after this date cannot be guaranteed delivery.


Location: Send cards to: Holiday Mail for Heroes, P.O. Box 5456, Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456
Be part of the 2013 American Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes. Each year the American Red Cross provides assistance to more than 2 million service members and many of our nation's 24 million veterans. We support military families, military and veterans hospitals and provide emergency communications across the globe. And once a year, we get the joy of delivering holiday cards to veterans, military families and active-duty service members at hospitals and installations around the world. The cards and personal messages, sent by tens of thousands of Americans, provide a welcome "touch of home" for our troops during the holiday season. The process is very simple and takes no time at all. All you need is a pen and a card to share your appreciation for the sacrifices members of the U.S. Armed Forces make to protect our freedom.

Card Guidelines: Every card will be screened for hazardous materials by Pitney Bowes and then reviewed by Red Cross volunteers working around the country. Please observe the following guidelines to ensure a quick reviewing process:  

  • Ensure that all cards are signed.
  • Use generic salutations such as "Dear Service Member." Cards addressed to specific individuals cannot be delivered through this program.
  • Only cards are being accepted. Do not send or include letters.
  • Do not include email or home addresses on the cards: the program is not meant to foster pen pal relationships.
  • Do not include inserts of any kind, including photos: these items will be removed during the reviewing process.
  • Please refrain from choosing cards with glitter or using loose glitter as it can aggravate health issues of ill and injured warriors.
  • If you are mailing a large quantity of cards, please bundle them and place them in large mailing envelopes or flat rate postal shipping boxes. Each card does not need its own envelope, as envelopes will be removed from all cards before distribution

Ages: All ages can participate 


Time Commitment: Varies






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This list was compiled by Doing Good Together ( When calling to volunteer for any of the opportunities listed above, please let the coordinator know you found it through this listing. You are encouraged to ask any questions you may have of the sponsoring organization before committing to a project.

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