As parents, we know that leading by example is one of the most impactful ways by which kids learn. The holidays are a time when we reflect on what we are thankful for and look for ways to share the best parts of ourselves. Here are some local options for how to involve kids at any age in the spirit of giving.
Partnership for the Homeless: With families and children now comprising the largest segment of New York’s homeless population, this organization works to help people gain stable housing and attain the skills to improve their lives and connect to their community. Volunteers are needed for anything from envelope stuffing to passing out toys at the annual holiday party.
Here’s Life Inner City: This organization works with faith-based outlets by providing job readiness and youth programs throughout the city. Volunteers are welcome to help sort and package items at their location in Long Island City to be sent for distribution to those in need
Food Bank for NYC: Volunteer opportunities for older teens in NYC are available at this food collection, packaging and distribution agency.
DONATE TEXTILES & HOUSEWARES
Goodwill: With locations throughout the borough, Goodwill accepts new or gently used clothing, housewares and furniture to be sold in their retail stores.
Salvation Army: Accepting donations in the form of clothing, furniture or your time for volunteering, the Salvation Army has locations in Astoria, Elmont, Flushing and Jamaica.
Food Bank NYC: You can search online to locate food programs, such as pantries and meal service, in your area. Contact individual locations to check when they accept donated, non-perishable food items.
DONATE TOYS (NEW OR GENTLY USED)
Wildlife Conservation Society Toy Drive: Join NYC’s zoos and the aquarium in their effort to collect toys for families in need this holiday season. Through December 31st, for every new, unwrapped toy you donate, receive one free general admission ticket to the Bronx Zoo or the New York Aquarium, valid for use through June 30, 2014.
Drop-off through December 31st at the New York Aquarium, The Prospect Park Zoo, The Bronx Zoo, The Central Park Zoo and the Queens Zoo.
Bobbi and the Strays: This Queens-based non-profit is a no-kill animal rescue organization that offers adoption and shelter services. They rescue stray dogs and cats from the streets, and from situations of abuse and neglect. Bobbi and the Strays would welcome donated pet supplies and toys.
Written by Liza Wyles: As a full-time working mom, raising fourth generation New Yorkers in Jackson Heights, Liza writes with the conviction that the suburbs are no place to grow a family. She develops, writes and produces for TV and film and her proudest productions are her 6-year old daughter and 3-year old son. She is in blissful denial of a work-life balance and blogs about it at Mama Jabber. Her work can be found on Aiming Low , The Indie Chicks and The Jane Dough. You can follow her around on Twitter @LizaWyles.