December 2015 - NYC Family Volunteer Opportunities

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December 2015 - New York City 

9th Annual - Mom's Christmas Stocking Campaign
Mom's Christmas Stocking
Date/Time: Saturday December 5, 1 - 3pm
Location: Grassroots Fitness Project, 519 W. 80th St NYC - 1st Floor

D. Wendy Strauss started this project in honor of her own mother. After her Mom passed away, Wendy found a request from her mom that she continue to fill a Christmas stocking for her each year, and to give it to a woman in need. Mom's Christmas Stocking fills upwards of 200 stockings for women and children each holiday season to be distributed to shelters in NYC. Volunteers are needed to purchase stocking stuffers for women and babies and to participate on event day; filling stockings and transporting bags of filled stockings to the final location before pick up.

Suggested stocking stuffer items include:
  • Makeup
  • Travel size toiletries, lotion, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant
  • Feminine products
  • Jewelry
  • Hair accessories
  • Toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss
  • Nail kits, emery boards, polish
  • Socks, trouser socks, slipper socks
  • Candy, chocolates, mints
  • Specialty gift items, hats, gloves, slipper socks, pashmina scarves
  • Pens, markers, notebooks, note pads, pocket calendars, date books
  • NEW baby clothing such as bibs, socks, onesies
  • Child safe toys, bottles, pacifiers, baby care kits, wipes, diapers
Ages: Everyone can participate
Time Commitment: Shopping in advance at your convenience; "stuffing" event is two hours
Contact: D. Wendy Strauss,, 212.920.4719
Host A Birthday Party
Celebrate U
Date/Time: Friday, December 4, 3 - 5pm
Location: Harlem Boys & Girls Club, 425 West 144th St

Help throw a birthday party for disadvantaged children in NYC. Two 15-year-old girls, Chase Kauder and Talia Eskenazi, founded The Celebrate U Foundation. Celebrate U hosts, organizes and manages birthday parties for children in shelters or who can't afford to celebrate their birthday in the New York City area. Early education is essential, but so is building a child's self esteem, giving them hope for a bright future and knowing society cares about them.
Ages: Children 11 or younger may volunteer with a parent. Volunteers ages 12 and older may participate on their own.
Time Commitment: Two hours
Contact:, 917.415.0963
Family Chanukah Celebration with Seniors
UJA Federation of New York
Date/Time: Sunday, December 6, 10:30am - noon
Location: Jewish Home Lifecare, 120 West 106th Street (between Columbus and Amsterdam), Manhattan

Jewish Home Lifecare, a UJA-Federation beneficiary agency, provides healthcare services and assistance for elders. With more than 160 years of experience as a not-for-profit elder care system, Jewish Home Lifecare provides a broad spectrum of care and serves as a resource for concerns of aging for elders and caregivers. Join UJA Federation for arts and crafts, songs, and bringing Chanukah cheer to the seniors at Jewish Home Lifecare. Space is limited and advance registration is required.
Ages: Everyone can participate; this project is geared toward families with children under age 12
Time Commitment: One and one-half hours
Contact: Jamie Antell,, 212.836.1899
Winter Wishes
New York Cares
Date/Time: At your convenience - gifts should be ordered by early December
Location: Gifts can be ordered online from home, at your convenience
This holiday season, the only gift a child, teen, or senior may receive could be from you. New York Cares works with nonprofit or school community partners and Amazon to give families the opportunity to grant holiday wishes. Browse through the Winter Wishes Amazon wish lists, select a gift that you'd like to donate and place in your cart. Write a note to the recipient wishing them a happy holiday, and proceed with checkout as normal. The address is pre-populated and the gift will go directly to the organization and reach the hands of the recipient just in time for the holidays.
Ages: Everyone can participate
Time Commitment: Varies
Contact:, 212.228.5000
Giving Tuesday
92nd Street Y
Date/Time: Tuesday, December 1
Location: 92nd Street Y, 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. The fourth annual #GivingTuesday is on December 1. In the same way that retail stores take part in Black Friday, #GivingTuesday celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support non-profit 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:
  • Clothing and Toy Drive in the 92nd Street Y Lobby, sponsored by MommyNearest (
  • Coat Drive for New York Cares
  • Medicine Bottle collection drive to benefit The Malawi Project
  • Beads for Love - share your love of jewelry-making with students from PS 57 at the 92nd Street Y Jewelry Center
  • And lots more!
Ages: Everyone can participate
Time Commitment: Varies
Contact: 212.415.5500
Family-to-Family, Inc.
Date/Time: At your convenience - until December 18
Location: Family-to-Family will link you with a shelter where you can drop off your stocking. Or you can ship your stocking to one of the communities where Family-to-Family helps!
It's that time of year again!  With the holidays approaching, Family-to-Family is providing lots of great opportunities to help kids and families living in poverty, and to allow them to celebrate the holiday with dignity. Your and your family can help by participating in the "Stuff-A-Stocking" campaign. Provide a holiday stocking and stuff it with any of these suggested items:

Child's Stocking:
  • A child-size fleece blanket
  • A snuggly stuffed animal
  • A child's toothbrush & toothpaste
  • Travel size games like Sorry/chess/checkers
  • Mittens
  • Pinky ball
  • Perfume/fragrance for 9-12 yr. olds
  • Nail polish
  • Lip gloss
  • Holiday pencils
  • Lego sets
  • Small puzzles
  • Small blank journal & pen
  • Tube socks
  • Small flash light with batteries
  • Harmonica
  • Jump rope
Adult's Stocking:
  • Winter gloves
  • Socks
  • Scarf
  • Soap & soap case
  • Body cream/moisturizer
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Fragrance
  • Small shampoo and conditioner
  • Lip balm or chapstick
  • Nail manicure kit
  • Crossword or Sudoku book
  • Deck of cards
  • Current magazine
When you've finished stuffing your stocking you can send Family-to-Family an email and they'll link you with either a local shelter where you can bring your stocking, or to one of the impoverished communities Family-to-Family serves where you can ship it. Either way, an outreach worker will hand out your stocking to a mom or dad in need to give to their child, or to an adult in need. 
Ages: Everyone can participate
Time Commitment: Varies
Contact:, 914.478.0756
Intergenerational Chess
Date/Time: Winter/Spring 2016
Location: DOROT - 171 West 85th Street
Students and Dorot Seniors will get to know each other and play chess together. Chess Masters will demonstrate different strategies at each session. Your child can share their love of the game and bring a smile to a senior! Refreshments will be served. Students must be in 5th-12th grade and understand the game of chess, the different chess pieces and how to move them.
Ages: Volunteers must be in 5th-12th grade.
Time Commitment: One hour per week. Students must commit to a minimum of 15 sessions.
Contact: Coordinator of Family and Youth Volunteer Services at or 917.441.5051. Complete the online registration form
Garden Maintenance
Concrete Safaris
Date/Time: Sunday, December 5 and Sunday, December 12, 10-1pm
Location: December 5: Mad Fun Farm, 98th Street and Third Avenue, just south of the flag pole in the gated gardens.
December 12: Jefferson Gardens, 300 East 115th Street just east of Second Avenue. If you are late, find us in the development in the gardens around the basketball courts.
Activities may include: planting, harvesting, weeding, raking leaves, spreading wood chips, trimming shrubs, and picking up trash. Dress to get sweaty, dirty, and get stuff done. Bring a water bottle to stay hydrated. Please dress for messy garden work, and appropriately for the weather.
Ages: Families with children ages five and older are encouraged to participate
Time Commitment: Three hours
Contact: Nia Padilla, 347.432.4777 or Mac Levine 347.267.2903
4 Mile Road Race and ½ Mile Reindeer Run for Kids
Jingle Bell Jog and Sneaker Drive
Date/Time: Saturday, December 5, 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 half-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. This race is nearing capacity so register soon!
Ages: The Reindeer Run is for children ages seven to ten

Time Commitment: Approximately two hours
Holiday Toy Collection
Toys for Tots
Date/Time: At your convenience, until Christmas
Location: 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.
Toys for Tots is a well-know 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. Many children 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 at all for Christmas. 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
Contact:, 347.450.8697
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 the New York Cares 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 (see website for a list), 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 welcomed.
Ages: Everyone can participate
Time Commitment: Varies
Contact:, 212.228.5000
Children's Coat Drive
Baby Buggy
Date/Time: Flexible
Location: Drop-off location, 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. You and your family can help a family in need provide a warm coat for their child this winter.

How to Plan a Children's Coat Drive:
  1. Choose a collection site that is both highly visible and secure.
  2. 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.
  3. Let Baby Buggy know when you are hosting the drive and the anticipated end date.
  4. Contact Melissa Stein, Volunteer Program Manager, to schedule a drop-off of collected coats.
  5. All items should be new or gently used.
  6. 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 7th 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.
Ages: Everyone can participate
Time Commitment: Varies

Collection Drives - share your abundance!

At this time of year, many non-profits and social service agencies are in need of items to help their clients celebrate the holiday season with dignity and joy. Consider providing some of these needed items to Jewish Home and Lifecare  and/or the Community of Hope Ministry of Homeless Outreach at the Manhattan Church of Christ.
Jewish Home and Lifecare is in need of:
  • Holiday Gift Wrap
  • Arts and Craft Supplies
  • New Cosmetics
  • New Caps, Hats and Scarves
Donations can be dropped off at:
Jewish Home Lifecare, Manhattan Division
120 West 106th Street

Contact Mirim Levi for more information or to coordinate a donation, 212.870.4618, 
The Community of Hope Ministry of Homeless Outreach at The Manhattan Church of Christ is in need of:
  • Soap
  • Deodorant
  • Toothpaste and toothbrushes
  • Lotion
  • Shampoo
  • Socks
  • Gloves & hats
The Community of Hope distributes gift boxes to the homeless at their annual holiday party on December 12. All donations must be made prior to December 12 and can be dropped off at:
Manhattan Church of Christ
48 East 80th Street

Contact Rev. Carl Garrison for more information or to coordinate a donation

Create a Family Mission Statement

Doing Good Together
Date/Time: This is a great year-end project but you can do it anytime!
Location: Your home or other convenient location
As the New Year approaches, take time away from life's busy demands to create an artistic representation of your family's mission. Our conversation starters will guide you through a big-hearted discussion about your family's passions, priorities, and goals. Your New Year's resolutions will be more meaningful, and more doable, than ever! Check out the Doing Good Together project page for more ideas on creating your own family mission statement!
Ages: Everyone can participate
Time Commitment: One hour or more

Just in time for holiday gift giving:  Our new and improved Big-Hearted Families Book Club offers families a unique opportunity to turn reading time into family time. Every quarter we'll deliver recipients (kids ages 4-10) more than a carefully chosen book with a big-hearted theme. We also include customized conversation cards for parents and kindness activities for the entire family. It's a great way to help families connect while learning big-hearted lessons too. Order by December 16 for Christmas delivery. Find our book club and other kindness-themed gift options in our online DGT Store.



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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. 

                                                                                                     © 2015 Doing Good Together™


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