December 2014 - NYC Family Volunteer Opportunities



December 2014 - New York City


Chanukah Visits for the Elderly  



Date/Time: One evening, December 16-18 or December 21-23. Families need to be available between 4-6pm. The latest start time for a visit is 5pm.


Location: At the home of an elderly Dorot client - typically on the 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. Registration is available online and closes Tuesday, December 2. Spaces are limited.  


Ages: Families with children age four and up are welcome to volunteer


Time Commitment: Each visit should last approximately a half hour  


Contact: Shelley Levine,, 914.441.5051  



Give It Up For Kids In Need!  



Date/Time: At your convenience - until December 15


Location: Virtual 


It's that time of year again! With the holidays approaching, Family-to-Family is launching their "empathy campaign," asking kids across the USA to give up one special gift they have asked for and have a sense they would have gotten this holiday season. Parents and kids are asked to visit the website ( and donate the approximate dollar amount of the gift the child has given up. Family-to-Family uses 100% of the money donated by your family to purchase a holiday gift for a child in need. What's different about this toy drive is your donated funds are used to buy gifts for the moms and dads of our nation's poorest kids, enabling them to give to their own kids on the holiday they celebrate. If you'd prefer to shop for your own gift and donate it to the campaign, Family-to-Family provides information on this option, as well. Working with partner agencies, parents in need are invited by Family-to-Family to come in for a "shopping" party. Parents will select a gift for each of their children, wrap them and take them home to give to their kids.


Ages: Everyone can participate 


Time Commitment: Varies


Contact:, 914.478.0756



Community of Hope Christmas Celebration   

Manhattan Church of Christ


Date/Time: Saturday, December 13, noon-3 pm


Location: Manhattan Church of Christ, 48 East 80th Street, New York  


The Community of Hope Ministry will prepare and serve a festive Holiday meal to the homeless on December 13. Children of all ages are welcome to help serve the meal. Register for a volunteer time slot online.   


Ages: All ages 


Time Commitment: Three hours 





Holiday Book Drive  

Barnes and Noble


Date/Time: Flexible


Location: Barnes and Noble locations (call ahead to make sure your nearby location is participating). The B&N at 86th and Broadway IS participating in this project.  


Barnes and Noble is providing a great opportunity to take your children shopping with the intention of giving to a child in need. Gift tags with names/ages of recipient children will be available on the Book Drive display at participating Barnes and Noble locations. Select a gift tag, choose a book that you think the child would enjoy, buy the book and sign the bookplate provided by the cashier. Barnes and Noble will deliver the donated book to the child!


Ages: All ages 


Time Commitment: Varies


Contact: 212.362.8835 (B&N at 86th and Broadway), Click for info on Barnes & Noble Holiday Book Drive 



Winter Wishes  

New York Cares


Date/Time: At your convenience - gifts should be sent by early December


Location: Volunteers mail the wrapped holiday gifts directly to the Community Partners using the address provided on the back of each letter.  


Every holiday season, New York Cares works with over 250 Community Partners to provide holiday gifts for children, teens and seniors who might otherwise go without holiday cheer. New York Cares collects thousands of wish letters from Community Partners and distributes them to volunteers, who purchase gifts and grant the wishes. Register online to grant wishes. You can take one letter, or several. Each letter comes with approximately a $40 commitment. The Community Partners distribute the gifts to their clients who enjoy a happy holiday knowing someone in New York cares.
Please note: You must have a New York Cares account to register for this event. It is very easy to sign up for an account. Click this link to go to the account registration page.  


Ages: All ages 


Time Commitment: Varies


Contact:, 212.228.5000 



#Giving Tuesday   

92nd Street Y    


Date/Time: Tuesday, December 2 


Location: 1395 Lexington Avenue, New York  


#GivingTuesday is a movement to create a national day of giving to kick off the holiday season, after Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In the same way that retail stores take part in Black Friday, #GivingTuesday celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations, and gives communities and families the opportunity to come together to help those in need.    

  • In New York, the 92nd Street Y is hosting a full day of activities, including a sustainability station, in collaboration with Mt. Sinai Hospital - stop by and exchange your disposable water bottle for a reusable one
  • Clothing and Toy Drive in the 92nd Street Y Lobby, sponsored by MommyNearest (
  • A Blood Drive in the streetside Bloodmobile
  • A knit-a-thon to benefit pediatric cancer patients and others in need

If you cannot participate in the hands-on projects at the 92nd Street Y, the Giving Tuesday website can provide ways to give financial support to causes you care about. Give your time or give a dollar, but be part of the movement.


Ages: Everyone can participate 


Time Commitment: Varies





Daily News Food Drive - Kids Can Help Competition (schools/groups)  

City Harvest/Daily News


Date/Time: Until January 16 


Location: Citywide - in your business, apartment building, school, club, Girl Scout/Boy Scout troop, etc.  


The Daily News Food Drive is held citywide from October to January. Help the Daily News and City Harvest reach their goal of 1 million pounds donated to feed hungry New Yorkers this holiday season by organizing your own food drive.


How to Plan your KIDS CAN HELP Food Drive: 

  • Choose collection sites that are both highly visible and secure
  • 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.
  • Put up City Harvest food drive posters at the collection sites a week or two before the start of the drive.  City Harvest will supply the posters, just call 646.412.0758, email, or download the poster from the website.
  • 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.

The most needed foods are:  

  • Canned fruit
  • Canned vegetables
  • Peanut butter (plastic jars)
  • Mac and cheese (packaged)
  • Hot and cold cereal (packaged, family-sized)


Ages: All ages 


Time Commitment: Varies


Contact: Jeanne Traugot,, 1.800.77.HARVEST 



Keeping it Green for Families  

Central Park Conservancy


Date/Time: Sunday, December 14, 10am- noon


Location: 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. Sessions are led by environmental educators. Space is limited and advance registration is required.  


Ages: Families with children age five and over; maximum of three children per parent/guardian.  


Time Commitment: Two hours 


Contact: Register via email at, 212.310.6600 



Jingle Bell Jog and Sneaker Drive  

New York Road Runners


Date/Time: Saturday, December 6, beginning at 8:30am


Location: Central Park 


This festive annual road race is a celebration and fundraiser benefiting New York Road Runners Youth Programming. NYRR provides running programs to over 200,000 children in underserved schools across the city. You can also give the "gift of running" by making a financial donation to the sneaker drive, providing new running shoes for Youth Runners and Mighty Milers. The nearly three-quarter mile Reindeer Run is a fun way for kids to participate and help other children. Each entrant receives antler headbands and jingle bells to wear during the race.  


Ages: The Reindeer Run is for kids ages 7-12  


Time Commitment: Approximately two hours


Contact:  Register online at NYRR Jingle Bell Jog 



Holiday Toy Collection  

Toys for Tots


Date/Time: At your convenience, until Christmas


Location: The two major donation sites in Manhattan are at Toys-R-Us in Times Square and Babies-R-Us in Union Square. Click for  additional drop-off locations. 


Toys for Tots is a well-known charity, established in 1991 by the US Marine Corps Toys For Tots Foundation. Their mission is simple: to provide a tangible sign of hope to economically disadvantaged children at Christmas. Every child can relate to the idea that they receive so many gifts for the Holidays, and yet some children in our community may not receive a special toy for Christmas. Toys for Tots partners with major retailers every year, and you'll find donation boxes all over the city. The two major donation sites in Manhattan are at Toys-R-Us in Times Square and Babies-R-Us in Union Square. It could not be easier to visit one of those stores with your children and let them pick out a toy for a child in need and place it in the donation box.  


Ages: All ages  


Time Commitment: Varies





Annual Coat Drive   

New York Cares


Date/Time: Now through February 1


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.  


As the weather begins to get colder, New York Cares starts to distribute coats to 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. All coats need to be delivered to the New York Cares warehouse located in midtown. Recipients of the coats 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 


Time Commitment: Varies


Contact:, 212.228.5000



Children's Coat Drive  

Baby Buggy


Date/Time: Flexible


Location: Drop-off donations at 306 West 37th Street, 8th Floor  


All over the city, New Yorkers help families in need by organizing their own coat drives in schools, apartment buildings, businesses, and places of worship. Help a family in need provide a warm coat for their child this winter.
How to Plan a Children's Coat Drive: 

  • Choose a collection site that is both highly visible and secure.
  • Put up Baby Buggy drive posters/printouts at the collection sites a week or two before the start of the drive to help spread the word.
  • Let Baby Buggy know when you are hosting the drive and anticipated end date.
  • Contact Melissa Stein to schedule a drop-off of collected coats.
  • All items should be new or gently used.
  • Baby Buggy distributes coats to boys and girls from infants to age 14.


Ages: All ages 


Time Commitment: Varies 


Contact: Melissa Stein,, 212.239.1687 



Letters to Santa  

Macy's Believe Campaign - Make-A-Wish


Date/Time: Until December 24 


Location: Any Macy's retail store 


This is the sixth year of Macy's Believe campaign benefiting Make-A-Wish. Kids of all ages can download a "letter to Santa" template from the Macy's website, and drop their stamped letter, addressed to Santa At The North Pole, in the Santa Mail letterbox at any Macy's retail store. For each letter received through December 24th, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-a-Wish, up to $1 million. Make-A-Wish provides magical, life-changing experiences for terminally ill children and their families. Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. Last year, Make-A-Wish granted the wishes of more than 14,000 children, each of them a potential game-changer in their lives. Their vision is to grant the wish of every eligible child.    


Ages: All ages 


Time Commitment: Varies





One Book at A Time  



Date/Time: Flexible


Location: Your home 


Family-to-Family is a non-profit national hunger and poverty relief organization dedicated to connecting, one-to-one, families with enough to share to impoverished American families with profoundly less. Family-to-Family programs create a bridge between communities with "more" and some of our country's poorest areas. You and your family can sponsor a child with one book a month through Family-to-Family's One Book at a Time program. The holiday season is the perfect time to take on a broader commitment that will carry your urge to give back through the whole year to come. Part pen pal, part book club, the One Book at a Time program will inspire both the book lovers who give the books and the ones who receive them. Family-to-Family will match you to a child living in poverty in one of the communities they serve, give you the child's name, age, grade, reading level, and list of favorite books or authors, and ask you to send him or her one new book, along with a letter, each month. Your family will commit to the program for one year, sending a total of 12 books and 12 letters. The child who receives the books will be encouraged to write back to you. Visit the DGT™ Feed Hungry Minds project page for reflection ideas, book suggestions, and ways to take this project further.  


Ages: Everyone can participate as a sponsor; recipient children are primarily between the ages of 7 and 12.  


Time Commitment: One year 


Contact: Email with your name, address and phone number and you will be matched with a child. 




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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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