The holiday season is about giving, but not just material gifts. Spread some holiday cheer in Staten Island to those in need by volunteering and donating your time to a worthy cause. There are many ways kids and families can volunteer in Staten Island this year. You can help prepare or serve meals to those experiencing food insecurity, help a senior in need or donate your time to a local animal rescue. Even doing something as simple as making a greeting card from home can bring joy to a homebound senior or someone who may be alone this time of year.
Browse our guide to where kids and families can volunteer on Staten Island this holiday season. Most are designed to give kids the opportunity to volunteer, but some organizations do have age requirements. It’s a good idea to check the website or call in advance to find out about specific volunteering instructions. However you choose to volunteer in Staten Island this holiday season, it’s sure to make a positive impact on the lives of others.
For the last 30 years, New York Cares has organized the city’s largest winter coat drive, gathering more than 1.8 million winter coats. Last year, the organization collected and distributed 109,000 winter coats to families who would have otherwise faced a long, cold winter without one. For a map of drop-off locations where you can donate a warm coat to someone in need, visit newyorkcares.org. The organization also offers many volunteer opportunities, with more than 1,600 listed on their website per month, including opportunities for teens and kids older than 6.
Kids and families can volunteer on Staten Island at this South Shore food pantry that works to fill the gap of food insecurity around the borough. The organization is always looking for volunteers and donations. For more information, send a message through its Facebook page.
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3. City Harvest
City Harvest is a food rescue organization that helps to feed more than 1.5 million New Yorkers who are struggling to put meals on their tables. The organization plans to collect 111 million pounds of food this year and deliver it, free of charge, to hundreds of food pantries, soup kitchens, and other community organizations across the five boroughs. Visit the website to learn how you can help.
Meals on Wheels serves to ensure elderly people in the community receive nutritious meals and the human connection they need to help them live independently by delivering two meals per day to senior citizens who live alone. Anyone older than 18 with a driver’s license and two free hours one morning per week can apply to deliver meals. To make a donation or find out about volunteering, visit the website.
Volunteer at this Staten Island-based organization that serves the hungry and homeless, people living with HIV & AIDS, the mentally ill and people battling addiction. The organization is always looking for volunteers, ages 16 and older, to assist in its soup kitchen, food and clothing pantries, with child-care services, tutoring, fundraising events, and more. Opportunities are available for children, too. They can run food drives, make reading kits, collect books and do lots more. For more information on volunteering and to download a volunteer application, go to projecthospitality.org.
The organization works to provide crisis relief services for victims of tragedies by aiding them in obtaining the help they need during the recovery process. There is also a snow shoveling program that matches student volunteers with seniors Island-wide. Last year, volunteers shoveled for more than 150 seniors. Kids can find out how to enroll in the program on the website.
Adults and children ages 14 and older can volunteer on Staten Island at the zoo any time of year. All volunteer candidates must fill out an application, which is available on the website.
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Staten Island University Hospital is looking for volunteers who are compassionate, professional, dedicated and reliable. There is also a junior volunteer program for students ages 16 or 17 with working papers. Volunteers hold a variety of positions at the hospital. They can be greeters, work in the gift shop, assist staff in the physical therapy department and much more.
Don’t forget about our animal friends in need this holiday season. Staten Island Hope Animal Rescue specializes in the rescue and placement of abused, disabled and/or injured and abandoned animals. Without the help of volunteers, many animal rescues such as this one would not exist. The organization is looking for volunteers on Staten Island who can fill a variety of roles. Volunteers can sponsor an animal, foster an animal in need, care for animals at various locations, do office work and so much more. Find out about volunteering on the website.
The organization works to provide financial assistance and a network of support to the families of New York City Police Officers, Firefighters, Port Authority Police and EMS personnel who were killed in the line of duty. It was run entirely by volunteers when it was founded over 30 years ago. Volunteers continue to play an important role in supporting the organization and are always in need. Contact the organization directly by phone or email at [email protected] to learn more.
This organization helps seniors by providing an array of programs and services throughout New York City and Westchester. Youth and families can help by visiting elders at their homes to brighten their holidays, deliver holiday packages and creating birthday and holiday cards. Learn how you can support the organization on the website.
Help grant the wishes of children in need who write letters to Santa through the U.S. Postal Service each year. Generous volunteers can “adopt” a letter, buy the item requested and bring it to the post office to pay for the mailing of the gift to the child. Learn more about how to get involved during the holiday season on the website. Letter adoption begins Nov. 29.