Millions are out of work due to Covid-19. More than ever, donations and volunteers are needed in Staten Island.
The holidays are the perfect time to show how thankful you are for life’s blessings by helping those who are less fortunate. It doesn’t take much to offer a helping hand to someone in need. Here are some wonderful opportunities in Staten Island for those looking to give back this holiday season.
Where to Turn
Where-to-Turn has been helping Staten Islanders in need for years. Where to Turn’s purpose is to provide crisis relief services for victims of any kind of tragedy by aiding them in obtaining the help they need during the recovery process. They are collecting unwrapped toys at their warehouse, 22 Brienna Court, Staten Island, during regular business hours, Monday to Friday, 9am to 4:30pm and Saturdays from 12pm – 2pm. Their Partner, Chelsea Financial Services, is also accepting toy donations at their office at 242 Main Street, Staten Island, between the hours of 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday by December 16th. If you would like to run a toy drive benefitting Where to Turn, contact us at 718-966-8531 to will arrange a pick-up. You can also make a monetary donation.
The holiday spirit is alive and well in the heart of John Louis Sublett, who is once again spearheading an annual fundraiser for special needs children. Sublett, a South Beach resident and single father of a 35-year-old autistic son, has distributed over 1,000 gift bags over the past three years through his charity, Toys4Autism. Serving all the special needs schools and programs in the borough, Sublett’s goodwill organization purchases specialized toys each year that help with coping, anxiety and stress. This year, Sublett aims to give away over 700 gifts to the developmentally disabled.
“This year we have purchased 600 handheld Gameboy systems, each loaded with 400 different popular games,” Sublett noted. “We also have 400 fidget spinners and assorted other toys.”
Toys4Autism has an Amazon Wish List where donors can pick from specialized fidget toys. All those interested in donating from that Wish List or making a monetary donation should visit toys4autism.org.
26th Annual Richard Gardner Jr. Memorial Fund
Since 1995, the Richard Gardner Jr. Memorial Fund has held Christmas parties for sick and underprivileged children, donating thousands of toys in memory of a young police officer who was killed. Every year, the organization reaches out to underprivileged families, sick children, underprivileged day care centers, children without families, organizations assisting families of domestic violence, underprivileged churches and children with sick parents. This year, most of their events will be cancelled due to Covid-19. Their annual toy drive night will be held at Castleton Corners Pub (1815 Victory Blvd) on December 5, 2020 at 8pm, featuring music, raffles and drink specials – all to benefit the cause.
If you would like to make a donation call 718-981-2016 or 718-273-9386, or email [email protected] On Christmas Eve they will be visiting the children at Richmond University Medical Center and Staten Island University Hospital. Go to rgtoydrive.org for more information.
Meals on Wheels of Staten Island
Meals on Wheels serves to ensure elderly people in our community by delivering two meals per day to senior citizens who live alone. Many seniors need their service more than ever due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Anyone between 18 and 65 with a driver’s license can volunteer, and no amount is too small for those willing to donate. As an added incentive, if you donate $75 to Meals On Wheels you will receive a $50 gift card to one of their participating locations. Go to mealsonwheelsofstatenisland.com for more information.
This Staten Island-based organization serves the hungry and homeless, as well as people living with HIV & AIDS, the mentally ill and people battling addiction. They are always looking for volunteers, ages 16 and older, to assist in their soup kitchen, food and clothing pantries, with child care services, tutoring, fundraising events and more. For more information on volunteering and to download an application, go to projecthospitality.org/how-you-can-help.
You can donate a variety of items to their food pantry, including fresh fruits and vegetables, in addition to non-perishables. For a list of most in-demand items, go to projecthospitality.org/how-you-can-help. Food donations can be dropped off at the Community Services Center at 514 Bay Street on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
You can also donate holiday supplies, including turkeys and food for a holiday feast, holiday gifts and toys, Halloween costumes and Easter baskets and other holiday items. Call EJ Emerson at 718-448-1544, ext. 173, or e-mail [email protected] if you wish to help with holiday needs. To make a monetary donation, go to projecthospitality.org/one-time-donation.
New York Cares
Since their relief efforts began in March at the start of the Covid-19 crisis, more than 33,100 volunteers have devoted over 114,000 hours on nearly 5,900 projects for New York Cares. The organization has been serving New Yorkers in need for over three decades. In response to the current pandemic, their website states: “While there have been significant changes to the way our staff, Team Leaders, volunteers, and nonprofit partners respond to the needs of our city, one thing remains constant: the way New Yorkers show up for one another in times of crisis.” New York Cares offers many opportunities to volunteer or donate. Go to newyorkcares.org for more information.
Toys for Tots
Run by The U.S. Marine Corps, Toys for Tots collects and distributes toys to children in need during the holidays so they can experience the joys of the season. There are nearly 40,000 Marines, Marine Corps League members, veteran Marines and volunteers involved in annual campaigns nationwide. They are accepting brand new, unopened, unwrapped toys or monetary donations for less fortunate children in the community until early December (deadlines vary by location). The Toys for Tots campaign is officially open for the distribution of toys and will close November 13, 2020. The phone number 917-231-3803 is active until January 19, 2020.
If you wish to donate toys, visit the Marine Corps League clubhouse at 46 Ontario Ave., off Victory Blvd in Sunnyside to drop off your toys/donations between the hours of noon and 5pm Thursday thru Saturday. Go to toysfortots.org/donate for more information or to make a monetary donation. Or just keep an eye out for those big drop off boxes with the familar choo-choo-train Toys for Tots logo at local establishments near you.
City Harvest has stepped up their efforts to help those in need in New York City as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to surge through the city. Together with the Daily News, they are collecting food to help feed families in need across the five boroughs. Their 38th annual food drive will continue now thru January 22nd. For information on how to donate or run your own drive, go to cityharvest.org/dailynews. There are also group and individual volunteer opportunities available to people under 65. Go to cityharvest.org for more information.
Cops Care for Kids
Started this year by a NYPD lieutenant and his wife, Cops Care for Kids aims to help pediatric patients at Staten Island University Hospital with long term illnesses and disabilities by providing financial and emotional support. The children receive plaques and junior police badges for their strength and bravery as well as plenty of toys.
They are asking those who wish to donate to bring a new, unwrapped toy or gift card donation to any Staten Island police precinct between November 16 through December 4. You can also send a toy electronically via Amazon Wish List. For more information, visit copscareforkids.org.
Wanna read more stuff like this? Get our newsletters packed with ideas, events, and information for parents in Staten Island.