August 2014 - NYC Family Volunteer Opportunities

DGT August 2014 New York City Family Volunteer Opportunities

August 2014 New York Family Volunteer Opportunities

 DGT Color Logo

  August 2014 - New York 
Volunteer Opportunities
for Families 

Volunteers of America  

Operation Backpack


Date/Time: At your convenience - please make all donations before August 9


Location: Drop off backpacks at any local Duane Reade retail drugstore or one of these additional sites.
More than 22,000 children live in NYC's homeless and domestic violence shelters. One of the most devastating consequences of homelessness is the impact it has on a child's education. Each year since 2001, Volunteers of America-Greater New York has been distributing new backpacks filled with grade-specific school supplies to homeless children throughout New York City. A filled backpack relieves parents of a financial burden and provides a sense of normalcy to the otherwise chaotic lives of these children, helping them to look and feel more like their classmates. Most importantly, a filled backpack allows these children to start the school year feeling prepared and confident, with the knowledge that their education is important and that someone believes in them. Every backpack given to a child through Operation Backpack is filled with supplies according to the child's grade. The Volunteers of America website provides a list of needed supplies.


Ages: Everyone can participate


Time Commitment: Flexible


Contact: Colleen Magri, 212.496.4307 



Adopt a Night Night Package   

Project Night Night


Date/Time: At your convenience


Location: Find a shelter from the Project Night Night list
Project Night Night provides Night Night Packages, free of charge, to homeless children from birth to pre-teen who need childhood essentials to feel secure, cozy, ready to learn, and significant. Each Night Night Package contains a new security blanket, an age-appropriate children's book, and a stuffed animal -- all nestled inside of a new canvas tote bag. Project Night Night establishes a foundation for lasting change through the hands-on volunteer opportunities that we provide to tens of thousands of individuals each year, creating and distributing Night Night Packages to homeless children in their own communities. Every year we donate over 25,000 Night Night Packages, free of charge to homeless children across the country.

Project Night Night provides detailed information, support and a "how to" video on their website. Here's how to get started: 

  • Determine the number of Night Night Packages to complete.
  • Order tote bags from Project Night Night at $3.50 each (this covers the cost of the tote and the shipping)
  • Fill each tote bag with a new blanket, a new/like-new stuffed animal, and a new/like-new children's book.
  • Select a shelter from the Project Night Night list.  
  • Deliver your assembled Night Night Packages to the shelter.
  • Ensure that the homeless children in your community feel special!


Ages: Everyone can participate 


Time Commitment: Flexible


Contact: Kendra Robins in San Francisco or Jessica Bryan in Cleveland 



9/11 National Day of Service & Remembrance Handmade Commemorative Cards



Date/Time: This is an ongoing summer opportunity. To participate in the 9/11 Postcard Competition, please mail cards to DOROT by Tuesday, July 29. We will continue to accept cards until Monday, September 8


Location: Mail finished cards and a Volunteer Return Form to: DOROT, Attn: Card Making Project, 171 West 85th Street, New York, NY 10024
For 9/11 National Day of Service & Remembrance, DOROT aims to send over 1,000 handmade cards to local military personnel and first responders from NYC police precincts and fire departments to commemorate the day. Our hope is that the cards thank our men and women in military service and local first responders for their service to our country and our city.

Tips for 9/11 Day of Service cards: 

  • Cards should have 9/11 National Day of Service & Remembrance printed inside or on the cover
  • Cards should have a positive, uplifting theme
  • Cards may reflect patriotic values
  • Please "sign" the back of the card with your first name, age and/or the name of your group and where you are from. DOROT receives cards from all over the country

Ages: Everyone can participate 


Time Commitment: Flexible


Contact: Kelsey Donovan,, 212.769.2850 



Summer Reading & Back to School Book Drive  

Room To Grow


Date/Time: At your convenience 


Location: NYC drop-off location, 54 West 21st Street, #401 (between 5th and 6th Avenue). Check website for specific drop-off information  

Please join Room to Grow in promoting early literacy and participate in the annual Summer Reading and Back to School Book Drive. The need is great - studies show that the ratio of books to children in low-income communities is one book for every 300 children. In middle-income households, the ratio is 13 books to one child. With your help, Room to Grow works to close that gap. In our early literacy program, children take home 40 books every year, while parents receive support and instruction on how to nurture language development. Please help us nurture an early love of reading.  

  • Organize a book drive or make an in-kind donation.
  • Make a financial donation. A gift of $50 will buy 10 baby books to give to a child in their first visit; a gift of $1,000 will help build a full home library for one child age 0-3 years.
  • Purchase bilingual baby books from our wish list. Integrating literacy instruction in a child's native language increases learning.

Ages: Everyone can participate 


Time Commitment: Flexible


Contact: Elaine Chow,, 212.620.7800



Gardening with Concrete Safari's at Jefferson Gardens   

Concrete Safaris - through New York Cares


Date/Time: Tuesday, August 19, 10am - 1pm


Location: East Harlem
Join Concrete Safaris, an organization dedicated to empowering children and youth to be healthy leaders through outdoor exercise and education programs that enrich the mind, body and community by creating and maintaining green spaces in East Harlem. Reminder - you must attend an orientation prior to signing up on the NY Cares website.


Ages: Ages 10 and up with parent or guardian (parents must sign a waiver form for children prior to the event)


Time Commitment: Three hours 


Contact:, 212.402.1101 



Supplies for Success  

UJA Federation-NY     


Date/Time: Thursday, August 28, 10am - 1pm (Drop-in, stay for an hour or the whole time)


Location: The Ross Lower School Fieldhouse, 739 Butter Lane, Bridgehampton, New York
Join Supplies for Success, UJA-Federation of New York's initiative to provide new school supplies for children in need. Each year, we provide brand new filled backpacks to thousands of disadvantaged children through UJA-Federation beneficiary agencies, schools, shelters, and other local organizations. Started by UJA-Federation's Long Island's Connections division in 2001, the goal of Supplies for Success is to ensure that all children in need return to school with the tools they need to succeed. Volunteers will help fill backpacks with school supplies


Ages: Everyone can participate


Time Commitment: One to three hours 


Contact: For more information or to register, Nancy Leipzig Powers, 516.677.1870. Registration is also available online. There is a cost of $18/person.



Donate colorful and cheerful drawings  

Color A Smile


Date/Time: Any time - at your convenience


Location: Mail drawings to: Color A Smile, P O Box 1516, Morristown, NJ 07962-1516
Young children are prolific artists. If you have a little Picasso and are wondering what to do with all their masterpieces, consider sending them to Color A Smile. Color A Smile collects hundreds of drawings created by school children each month, and distributes them to Meals on Wheels programs, nursing homes, hospitals and individuals who are in need of a smile. Follow some simple guidelines, package the artwork together and ship it to Color A Smile, and they will make sure it gets into the hands of a person who needs cheering.  You need not register for this activity.

  • Use 8.5 x 11 white paper
  • Use crayons or colored paper
  • Avoid glitter and glue
  • Avoid using phrases like "Feel better" or "Get Well"
  • Do not put a date on the drawing
  • Ask children to sign just FIRST name and age on the drawing
  • Use one side of paper only
  • Make sure the drawings are bright and happy!


Ages: Everyone can participate 


Time Commitment: Flexible


Contact: 973.540.9222 



Food Pantry/Soup Kitchen Volunteers  

St. Xavier Mission Food Pantry


Date/Time: Pantry stocking: Second Saturday of each month, 10:30am-noon
Food Preparation: Every Sunday, 8:45-11:30am


Location: St. Xavier Mission, 55 West 15th Street, New York City
Hunger doesn't go on summer break. St. Xavier Mission seeks to welcome, serve and empower those in our New York City community who are in need of human and material support. They provide food, clothing, shelter and life-skills training, guided always by a spirit of love and respect and the goal of building self-sufficiency and self-esteem. The Mission operates a food pantry, shelter and welcome table soup kitchen.


Ages: All ages: an adult should accompany children


Time Commitment: Two and a half hours


Contact: Christine Strumpen-Darrie at Pre-registration is required via email




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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.
Disclaimer: This list is provided as a service to families. Inclusion of organizations in this listing does not imply affiliation, endorsement or quality assurance on the part of Doing Good Together. Doing Good Together bears no responsibility whatsoever for the activities and actions of the listed organizations. 

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