November 2017 Family Volunteer Opportunities

November 2017 New York City Family Volunteer Opportunities

November 2017 - New York City
Halloween Candy GIVE-Back
Operation Gratitude
Date/Time: At your convenience, after Halloween. Candy should be donated prior to November 15.
Location: Check Halloween Candy GIVE-Back website for locations.

Don't forget to donate your leftover Halloween candy! Through the Halloween Candy GIVE-Back program, local dentists promise to "buy back" leftover Halloween candy with prizes, toothbrushes, coupons, etc. Operation Gratitude will also accept donations of unopened packages directly. The 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. NO chocolate candy (chocolate can melt in transit.)
Ages: Everyone can participate
Time Commitment: Varies
Serve a Hot Meal to the Homeless
Manhattan Church of Christ
  • Saturday, November 11, 10am - 2pm
  • Saturday, November 25 (Thanksgiving Holiday Meal), 10am - 2pm.
Location: Manhattan Church of Christ, 48 East 80th Street

The Saturday Lunch Program provides hot meals to the homeless with dignity and compassion. In addition, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the Manhattan Church of Christ will serve a traditional Thanksgiving meal to the homeless.  All shifts are family-friendly, and involve a set-up team to set tables and decorate, a service team to run trays of food back and forth to the guests, and a break down & clean up team. Volunteers help set up, prepare and serve meals, then break down and clean up.
Ages: All ages, families are encouraged to volunteer together.
Time Commitment: Varies
Contact: Volunteers should email Rev. Carl Garrison to sign up to volunteer for either date.
Share Your Abundance this Thanksgiving - Host a Food Drive
NY Common Pantry
Date/Time: Complete this form to schedule a pick-up. The last pick-up day will be Wednesday, November 15
Location: NY Common Pantry, 8 East 109th Street

Organize your own food drive to benefit the NY Common Pantry. The NY Common Pantry provides over 2,000 complete Thanksgiving meals each year. Consider organizing your own drive to help the Pantry collect food to be distributed to low-income New York families to ensure that everyone who relies on the NY Common Pantry will have the food that they need to have a festive and memorable holiday.

How to Plan a Food Drive:

Choose collection sites that are both highly visible and secure, and promote to neighbors and friends. Items to be collected include:
  • Canned cranberry sauce
  • Rice - 1 lb
  • Gravy (turkey preferred)
  • Corn Bread Mix
  • Stuffing Mix
  • Oatmeal - 18 oz 
  • Cake/Brownie Mix
  • Frosting
  • Pasta - 1 lb
  • Canned Beans 
  • Dry Beans - 1 lb
PLEASE NO GLASS JARS! Click here to view the Full List of requested food items

Ages: Everyone can participate
Time Commitment: Varies
National Family Volunteer Day!
Catholic Charities of New York
Date/Time: Saturday, November 18, 10am - 1pm
Location: The Cathedral High School, 350 East 56th Street

Family Volunteer Day is a day of service that demonstrates and celebrates the power of families who volunteer together, supporting their neighborhoods, communities and the world. This day is strategically held on the Saturday before Thanksgiving to "kick-off" the holiday season with giving and service. Service projects will benefit New Yorkers in need and will be distributed through Catholic Charities program sites: residences, senior centers, foster care programs and more. Here are some examples of projects from previous years:
  • Homemade Christmas cards
  • DIY Christmas decorations
  • Blessings Bags
  • DIY no sew fleece blankts
  • DIY snow globes
Ages: Ages three and up, with an adult. Ages may vary with specific project.
Time Commitment: Varies
Contact: Staci Jo Bruce, Registration is available online.
6th Annual Thousand Turkey Challenge
West Side Campaign Against Hunger and the WSCAH Community Coalition
Date/Time: Launch Event, Sunday, November 19, 12:15 pm. The Thousand Turkey Challenge runs that week until Thanksgiving, check the website for drop off times
Location: WSCAH, 263 West 86th Street, in the basement of the Church of St. Paul & St. Andrew (Between West End Avenue and Broadway)

The West Side Campaign Against Hunger is a grocery-store style food pantry on the Upper West Side which has been serving low-income residents from all 5 boroughs for 38 years. Each year, in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, West Side Campaign Against Hunger launches the Thousand Turkey Challenge. Together with our committed Community Coalition members, we challenge individuals and families across New York City to collect and donate at least 1,000 frozen turkeys for low-income families. Last year, the Thousand Turkey Challenge collected and distributed nearly 1,400 turkeys for WSCAH clients. The goal for this year is 1,500 turkeys. The Thousand Turkey Challenge Launch event will take place on Sunday, November 19th at 12:15. Visit the pantry and drop off your frozen turkeys. Community Coalition members will be on hand for conversation and refreshments, and community leaders will speak. There will be a turkey drawing contest. Take a tour of the food pantry and learn more about their programs. They will let you put your turkey right in the big walk in freezer! 

NOTE: There is a Gristedes market next door to WSCAH so you can purchase your turkey on your way to the event.
BRING: If you can't attend the Kick-off event: Volunteers will receive turkeys on Monday & Tuesday, November 20 & 21, from 9 am - 8 pm and Wednesday, November 22nd from 9 am - 1 pm.  FROZEN TURKEYS UP TO 14lbs ONLY.
DONATE: Donate online at or Text TURKEY to 77948 on your smartphone ($18 per turkey)

Ages: Everyone is welcome to participate
Time Commitment: Varies
Contact: Brian Robinson,
Thanksgiving Morning Meal Delivery
God's Love We Deliver
Date/Time: Thursday, November 23. Times vary, three hour shifts between 8:45am and 1pm
Location: Various delivery locations city-wide

God's Love We Deliver is the New York City metropolitan area's leading provider of nutritious, individually-tailored meals to people who are too sick to shop or cook for themselves. Every day at God's Love We Deliver, an army of dedicated volunteers prepare and deliver meals to our homebound elderly and ailing neighbors. On Thanksgiving morning, they need even more help - and volunteers with cars are in demand. Can't volunteer on Thanksgiving? Consider decorating holiday bags or birthday cards! God's Love We Deliver provides a birthday cake to all clients celebrating a special day.  You and your kids can create birthday cards to be included in these deliveries. You can also decorate holiday bags that are used to package Thanksgiving meals. Contact for more information and guidelines.
Ages: All ages, with an adult
Time Commitment: Three hour shifts
Contact: or 212.294.8158. Registration is available online.
A Special Collection!
Manhattan Church of Christ
Date/Time: Please contact Reverend Carl to coordinate drop off times
Location: Manhattan Church of Christ, 48 East 80th Street

The Manhattan Church of Christ is collecting the following items for community members who live marginally or are homeless. These items will be distributed at their holiday party in December. All items can be dropped off at the church:
  • New socks, hats and gloves
  • Small toothbrushes/toothpaste
  • Deodorant, small soaps, shampoo, lotion
Ages: Everyone is welcome to participate
Time Commitment: Varies
Contact: Rev. Carl Garrison,
Thanksgiving Turkey Drive for Families in Need
Date/Time: At your convenience, before Thanksgiving
Location: Online

Help make Thanksgiving happen for families in need. Consider making a $25 donation to purchase a turkey plus one side dish (e.g. potatoes or stuffing) for one recipient Family-to-Family family. Or, buy a "flock of turkeys" (you choose how many) to feed more than one family.  Family-to-Family has provided turkeys and side dishes to over 24,000 families since 2003. If you currently sponsor a family through Family-to-Family, send an email at after you donate, with your name, the name of your sponsored family and the community where they live. Family-to-Family will make sure they receive your turkey, and will let them know you've purchased it specifically for them. If you don't sponsor a family, they will donate the turkey to a family that didn't get one. Interested in learning more about sponsoring a family, click here

Ages: Everyone is welcome to participate
Time Commitment: It only takes a few minutes to donate online, but you and your family can use this opportunity to talk about what it would be like to not be able to afford a Thanksgiving dinner, and why it's important to you to help other families.
Contact:, 914.478.2641. Click here to learn more and to make your Turkey Drive donation.
Where You Can Food Drive
Date/Time: Now through November 30
Location(s): Drop off food at any of the following CAMBA locations in Brooklyn:
  • 1720 Church Avenue, 2nd Floor
  • 2241 Church Avenue
  • 885 Flatbush Avenue, Room 202
  • 19 Winthrop Street
  • Park Slope Women's Shelter, 1402 8th Avenue
Brooklyn is renowned as a center of fine cuisine. Yet more than half a million borough families live in poverty and cannot afford to buy enough food. Since 1977, CAMBA has helped New Yorkers transform their lives by providing holistic programs to individuals, families and communities. CAMBA sponsors a food drive each Fall. You and your family can donate nutritious, nonperishable canned or packaged foods. Needed items include: canned tuna, salmon and chicken, dried milk, beans, fruit, vegetables, pasta, cereal, peanut butter, 100% fruit juice. NOTE: Please do not donate moldy, expired or dented cans.

Ages: Everyone is welcome to participate
Time Commitment: Varies
Contact: To organize a food drive or another activity to support the pantry, please contact Barbara Diaz at or 718.282.3082.
Deliver Meals to Homebound Elderly
City Meals on Wheels
Date/Time: Monday - Sunday (most dates available), 9:30am - 1pm
Location: Queens, Manhattan, Brooklyn and Bronx

The heart of the City Meals on Wheels program is the hand-delivery of nutritious meals to homebound elderly. Meal recipients look forward to these essential meals; the personal visits that come with them help brighten their days. Meal delivery is done on foot, within walking distance of a senior center, rain or shine (seniors are counting on these meals). Volunteers should wear weather appropriate clothes and comfortable shoes, and should not bring any large bags or bulky items as Citymeals does not have storage for these items while deliveries are being made. Volunteers will deliver in pairs or small groups. Families are also encouraged to make beautiful hand-made cards and notes to include with delivered meals. The Volunteer Coordinator can email you a template and guidelines.

Ages: Families with children of all ages are welcome to participate but volunteers age 16 and under require adult supervision.
Time Commitment: Two to three hours
Contact: Sheila Clay, Volunteer Programs Coordinator,, 646.866.6286  
Package and Deliver Thanksgiving Meals
Feeding NYC
Date/Time: Tuesday, November 21st - several shifts, beginning at 6 am
Location: Pier 60/Chelsea Piers - 23rd Street and West Side Highway

Since 2001, FeedingNYC has been connecting with families in need throughout New York City. Each year, FeedingNYC hand delivers nearly 3,000 Thanksgiving dinners. Each box contains one turkey, stuffing, gravy, vegetables, juices and dessert. Thanksgiving dinners are delivered to families who are in partnership with Women in Need, Jewish Federation, Catholic Charities and City Harvest. Join over 300 volunteers in this hands-on opportunity. Financial donations are also welcome through the "Adopt A Box" program sponsored by Manhattan Mini Storage.
Ages: Families with children of all ages are welcome to volunteer. All participants under 18 must be accompanied by adult and have a signed waiver.
Time Commitment: Two to three hours, depending on shift
Contact: Registration is available online.
Keeping it Green for Families
Central Park Conservancy
Date/Time: Every Sunday from November 26 - December 10, 10am - 1:30pm
Location: Provided with pre-registration

Spend quality time with your family helping keep Central Park green by raking leaves this fall. Space is limited and advance registration is required.
Ages: Families with children age 4 and older. Maximum of three children per adult.
Time Commitment: Two hours
29th Annual Coat Drive
New York Cares
Date/Time: The Coat Drive will officially kick off on November 14. We cannot accept any coat donations before that time.
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 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. If you don't have any coats to donate, you can Text-to-Give and donate $20 to buy a coat for a New Yorker in need. Text the word COAT to 41444.
Ages: Everyone can participate
Time Commitment: Varies
Contact: or 212.228.5000. To register your own coat drive, email
Spread Some Joy - Create Greeting Cards for DOROT!
Date/Time: Ongoing - for the Holiday Season and all year long
Location: Mail your cards and a Volunteer Return Form to:
Attn: Card Making Project
171 West 85th Street
New York, NY 10024

DOROT's greeting card project helps bring joy and celebration to some of our frailest and most isolated seniors. Each month, DOROT mails over 200 birthday cards to seniors. Every card is designed and created by you, our volunteers. Often, this card is the only recognition a senior receives on his or her birthday. Making a card is easy and fun! Whether you're looking for something to do on a rainy day, or planning an activity for your youth group, all you need is a bit of paper, a few pens, and a little imagination. Be sure to use colored paper for the outside, but white for the inside to make it easier to read.
  • The card you create should be able to fit into a 6x9 standard envelope. This is the type DOROT uses to mail out the cards to our seniors.
  • Write in large block (print) letters. As people get older, many have a hard time reading small print.
  • After you finish your cards, our office volunteers will address and mail them to seniors.
Ages: Everyone can participate
Time Commitment: Varies
Contact: 217.769.2850,
Cook a Meal at a Shelter
Doing Good Together

Date/Time: Flexible

Location: A homeless shelter or soup kitchen in your community.

Many homeless shelters and soup kitchens rely on volunteers to provide meals for their guests. You and your family can help by providing a meal or meals. To find a local shelter or soup kitchen, Google homeless shelters along with your city name. Once you find a shelter, contact their volunteer coordinator to see if they are looking for volunteers and check for any age requirements. The shelter will help you schedule a date and provide you with any specific instructions. Find more information and ideas on the Doing Good Together Cook a Meal at a Shelter Project page.

Ages: Everyone can participate

Time Commitment: Varies


In this month of gratitude and giving, Minnesota holds its traditional "Give to the Max Day" on November 16th, and the global effort "Giving Tuesday" donation day takes place this year on November 28th. Kindly consider a gift to DGT to help us grow more kindness among more big-hearted families. We appreciate your support


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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. 

                                                                                                     © 2017 Doing Good Together™


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