While many of us will be celebrating holidays with family and friends and enjoying home-cooked meals, many people in New York and New Jersey are still without homes, kitchens or food due to Hurricane Sandy. In this season of giving, here are suggestions by area on how to make the holiday season brighter for people in need.
Across the Region
- For donation guidance, New York Community Trust, the largest private funder of nonprofits in New York City, recommends a wide range of nonprofits across the city and in Long Island whose work “meets the urgent needs of New Yorkers most affected by Hurricane Sandy.”
- Good is a social network that connects people with organizations and opportunities to make a difference. You can choose is donate for supplies to schools in need, use the NeedMapper.com to localize your help, plus find many other categories of giving. Good suggests a charitable twist on the traditional gift exchange: the Secret Sandy present swap. Its DIY guide to hosting the swap is available here.
- Occupy Sandy continues to run volunteer efforts and drop-off and distribution centers across New York, Long Island, New Jersey. On its thorough locations page, it regularly updates what items are needed at a given drop-off site or distribution center. Many types of activities are listed on its calendar of events. As of Dec. 5, Occupy Sandy raised $648,342.50 in New York.
- United Way Hurricane Sandy Recovery Fund donations will be used by local United Ways along the Eastern Seaboard to address the near and long-term recovery needs of communities that FEMA has declared disaster areas.
New York City
- Food Bank for NYC allows you to type in a zip-code and find out where to help. It also provides a calendar of events and indicates whether volunteers are still needed for actions such as packing food in the Bronx on Christmas Eve day.
- Citymeals-on-Wheels worked overtime to provide food to homebound seniors in storm-affected areas of the city. Donations help them continue feeding seniors, as does purchasing any of their variety of artist-designed holiday cards. Consider being a volunteer during the Christmas season.
- City Harvest partners with many groups to hold food drives that benefit New Yorkers in need, such as those left without homes or access to groceries after Sandy.
Gift and Toy Drives
- Governor Cuomo announced a Holiday Toy Drive with drop-off locations at government offices across the state for toys that will go to children in communities affected by the storm. The Governor will visit affected areas to deliver toys and other donated supplies. Offices will be closed Dec. 25, but unwrapped gifts will be accepted through Dec. 28. The city locations are Harlem in Manhattan and Fort Greene in Brooklyn.
Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building
163 West 125th Street, between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and Lenox Ave., New York, NY 10027
Shirley A. Chisholm State Office Building
55 Hanson Place, between Fort Green Pl. and S. Elliott Pl., Brooklyn, NY 11217
- Project Hospitality in Staten Island, an interfaith nonprofit, accepts unwrapped gifts for men, women and children. “Cold weather clothing for adults is still our primary need,” said Deacon Paul Kosinski. ” I am trying to put together approximately 200 of these items to distribute to the silent immigrant male population at a meal on Christmas day. This need will continue far past the holiday season.” Donations can be sent to his attention at: Project Hospitality, 100 Park Ave., Staten Island, NY 10302.
Holiday Events, Volunteering and Sandy-Related Donations
- Occupy Sandy’s Holiday Days of Volunteer Action includes gift wrapping presents on Dec. 22, cooking holiday meals and helping clean in the Rockaways on Dec. 23, and a holiday party with food and gift distribution in the Rockaways on Christmas Eve.
- The Project Hospitality Staten Island Hurricane Relief Fund, spearheaded by the Staten Island Advance and St. George’s Theater in partnership with the interfaith nonprofit Project Hospitality, benefits all Staten Island families affected by Sandy. As of early December, $1.2 million dollars had been raised, according to Reverend Terry Troia, Project Hospitality’s executive director. She noted that since Sandy, the nonprofit has seen a significant rise in need in services for immigrants, the disabled and elderly.
- The Staten Strong Gala on Dec. 27, a Hurricane Sandy benefit for Staten Island at the Excelsior Grand, mixes a concert vibe with charity. Special guests include the band Twisted Sister, stand-up comics and cast members of the FX show “Sons of Anarchy,” including Staten Island native Theo Rossi. To give you an idea of the dress code, note that there will be tattoo stations at the event.
- The Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund organized by Governor Chris Christie and First Lady Mary Pat Christie raises funds and resources to help New Jersey families impacted by the devastation of the storm.
- The Community Food Bank of New Jersey is the central food distribution center for other nonprofits in New Jersey that serve individuals, soup kitchens, food pantries and shelters. Donations are welcome.
- Long Island Cares maintains a list of Hurricane Sandy drop-off sites for food donations.
- Long Island Food Not Bombs is conducting a gift drive through Dec. 23 and also seeking volunteers. It suggests “toys (all ages, new and used), warm clothing, sleeping bags, pants, shirts, gloves, boots, sweaters, leggings, blankets, hats, socks, and whatever else you can think of.” It will come to you to pick up the gifts, or you can drop them off at one of its food shares.
Please share other ways to donate or volunteer in the comments section.