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First lady Michelle Obama supports annual Toys for Tots drive. | © Official U.S. Navy Page/Flickr
First lady Michelle Obama supports annual Toys for Tots drive. | © Official U.S. Navy Page/Flickr
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How New Yorkers Can Give Back This Holiday Season

Picture of Rebecca McCarthy
Updated: 24 December 2016
There’s nothing better than thinking about others this time of year. With the holidays finally here, get into the spirit of giving by volunteering. Sometimes volunteering can be difficult, especially if you don’t know where to look. Here are seven great places to volunteer and give back this holiday season in New York.
First lady Michelle Obama supports annual Toys for Tots drive. | © Official U.S. Navy Page/Flickr
First lady Michelle Obama supports annual Toys for Tots drive. | © Official U.S. Navy Page/Flickr

Toys For Tots

Toys for Tots is run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, and it is a campaign that distributes toys to underprivileged children during the holiday season. They hope to give these children a sense of hope so they may become productive citizens later in life. You can donate toys at your local toy drop locations, volunteer at your local Toys for Tots warehouse, or host your own Toys for Tots event.

"Peanut" Just the cutest little thing! | © jeffreyw/Flickr
“Peanut” Just the cutest little thing! | © jeffreyw/Flickr
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BARC Shelter

Don’t forget about your furry friends this holiday season. Volunteer at an animal shelter like BARC in Brooklyn. BARC is a no-kill shelter that seeks to find loving homes for abandoned animals. The shelter allows for group volunteering of up to 14 people, so you can take friends, family, or people from the office along. You will love bonding with the cute animals.

Brooklyn Animal Rescue Coalition, 253 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, USA +1 718 486 7489

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Macy’s Believe Campaign, Make-A-Wish

Do you enjoy writing? Write a letter to Santa and drop it off at your local Macy’s Santa Mail Letterbox. Macy’s will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish for every letter they receive, up to $1 million. Make-A-Wish grants wishes to children with terminal illnesses. The charity seeks to bring joy into the children’s lives.

Macy’s, Herald Square, 151 West 34th Street, New York, NY, USA + 1 212 695 4400

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Citymeals on Wheels

Citymeals on Wheels is one of the biggest meals-on-wheels programs in the United States. It delivers healthy meals to the elderly and also gives them much-needed human companionship. Volunteers often find the volunteer work inspiring, and the organization often has repeat volunteers.

Citymeals on Wheels, Third Floor, 355 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY, USA + 1 212 687 1234

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New York Cares

Coat drives are another great way to help those in need this holiday season. It is predicted to be another bitter winter, similar to last year’s, and New York Cares is doing their annual coat drive. Keep a New Yorker warm this winter by donating a coat.

New York Cares, 19, 65 Broadway, New York, NY, USA + 1 212 228 5000

Family-to-Family

The charity Family-to-Family will link you up with a low-income family in need of support. You can donate money, groceries, and personal care items. The organization encourages you to keep a correspondence through letter or email with the family that you sponsor.

Family-to-Family, P.O. Box 255, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, USA +1 914 478 2641

Santa Claus is coming to town | © Rosana Prada/Flickr
Santa Claus is coming to town | © Rosana Prada/Flickr

Operation Santa Claus

Through Operation Santa Claus you can donate an item on a child’s Christmas wish list. These children are disadvantaged and wouldn’t have a Christmas otherwise. Find out if your local post office participates in Operation Santa Claus and bring joy to a child’s life.