Thanksgiving is 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.
Toys 4 Autism
After a successful two years of fundraising, John Louis Sublett is once again encouraging Staten Islanders to open their hearts for children with special needs. Over the past two years, and with the help of his son, John. Jr., who also has autism, he was able to fill almost 1,000 gift bags with specialized toys and distribute them to children with special needs. This year, in addition to his traditional fundraisers, Mr. Sublett is also hosting a new fundraiser called “Music for Autism,” This year, in addition to his traditional fundraising efforts, Mr. Sublett is also hosting a new campaign called “Music 4 Autism,” which aims to provide 500 music players loaded with 600 songs, 60 videos and a built in FM radio to students with special needs as well.
Go to toys4autism.org to make a monetary donation or a toy donation from an Amazon wish list.
25th 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, they plan to visit children at Richmond University Medical Center and Staten Island University Hospital on Christmas Eve. Their toy drive night will be held at Castleton Corners Pub (1815 Victory Blvd) on December 7, 2019 at 9pm, featuring music, raffles and drink specials – all to benefit the cause. If you would like to make a donation please call 718-981-2016 or 718-273-9386, or email [email protected]
Meals on Wheels of Staten Island
Meals on Wheels serves to ensure elderly people in our 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 over 18 with a driver’s license and two free hours one morning per week can apply to deliver meals. To make a donation, go to mealsonwheelsofstatenisland.com/donate.
Where to Turn
This Staten Island-based non-profit organization runs various drives and clean-up efforts throughout the year in an effort to promote the beautification of the borough, as well as provide assistance to those in need. Their initiatives rely on the generosity of volunteers. Each winter, they host two major initiatives:
• Snow Shoveling for Seniors: Where to Turn recruits student volunteers every year, each of whom adopts one of the 2,500 Staten Island seniors registered and shovels for them, free of charge, when it snows. Go to where-to-turn.org/news to apply.
New York Cares
For the last 30 years, New York Cares has organized the city’s largest winter coat drive, gathering over 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, go to newyorkcares.org/coat-drive/map. New York Cares also offers many volunteer opportunities, with over 1,600 listed on their website per month — including opportunities for teens and kids over six years old. Go to newyorkcares.org/volunteer to learn more. You can also search for volunteer opportunities from other organizations on their home page.
City Harvest’s goal this year is to collect one million pounds of food to help feed the city. Together with the Daily News, they are collecting non-perishable food to keep shelves stocked at hundreds of soup kitchens, food pantries, and other community food programs across the city. Any school running a drive will be automatically entered into the Kids Can Help Competition. Individuals can help City Harvest reach their goal as well. Drop off non-perishable food donations at City Harvest’s office in Midtown Manhattan, any FDNY or NYPD station, and select Goodwill or Apple Bank locations throughout the five boroughs from October 22 through January 17. Go to cityharvest.org/dailynews 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). Last year over 22,000 toys were distributed to over 11,000 children in our area The Toys for Tots campaign is officially open for the distribution of toys and will close November 29, 2019 for the 2019 season. 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 12noon and 5PM. 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 familiar choo-choo-train Toys for Tots logo at local establishments near you.
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 her at [email protected] if you wish to help with holiday needs.
To make a monetary donation, go to projecthospitality.org/one-time-donation.
Each year, the Catholic Charities Adopt-A-Family Program serves hundreds of families during the holidays, both Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Through the Adopt-A-Family Program, you can help provide holiday gifts and winter necessities to families in need. After you fill out a Participation Form on the Catholic Charities website, you will be matched with a family. To learn more about the Adopt-A-Family Program, email [email protected] or call 646-794-2436. Visit catholiccharitiesny.org/get-involved/2019-adopt-family-program for info.