The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s are prime time for volunteerism and today in particular is all about paying it forward. It’s #GivingTuesday, a new national movement, now in its second year, aimed at counterbalancing some of that Black Friday shopping (this year Americans spent nearly $58 billion between Thanksgiving Day and Dec. 1) by encouraging service and philanthropy. If you know you want to give back today or in the coming weeks, but aren’t sure how to go about it, here is a list of local resources that can help you channel your good cheer.
1. Brooklyn Community Foundation
BCF celebrated its fourth anniversary in October, and in addition to raising funds to support local nonprofits in our fair borough, in 2012 BCF launched a new initiative aimed at connecting Brooklyn residents with ways to volunteer locally. Do Good Right Here is a list of area nonprofits looking for volunteers. Whether you’re after a one-time opportunity to get involved or an on-going gig, you can search the database and see all the nonprofits in need of able bodies at the moment.
2. New York Cares
Since the late ’80s, New York Cares has served as the city’s largest hub for volunteerism. Last year 59,000 New Yorkers used the nonprofit to find volunteer opportunities–and an additional 15,000 people have connected with Sandy recovery efforts through the organization since the storm. New York Cares helped to fill more than 200,000 volunteer positions citywide last year. The nonprofit’s 2013 holiday projects and Sandy Relief efforts are both still in need of help. New York Cares even lets you know how many spots are left in each project, in case you’re organizing a group to volunteer together. You can search by neighborhood, project type, task type or demographic you’d be helping. We’ve sorted a list of all the volunteer projects happening in Brooklyn this holiday season for your convenience.
3. Grow NYC
In addition to composting our food scraps every weekend at their farmer’s markets and helping make fresh produce accessible to local communities (they operate 54 markets across the city and work with 230 family farms and fishermen annually) Grow NYC gets its hands dirty organizing environmental programming throughout the city all year long. This December, Grow NYC hopes to raise $20,000 and to add 100 new volunteers to their rosters–just make sure to register before trying to sign up.
4. City Harvest
Working at a soup kitchen or local food bank is quite possibly the most popular way to volunteer this time of year, and organizations like City Harvest rely heavily on volunteers to feed the one million New Yorkers facing hunger they support annually. Here is a list of volunteer opportunities City Harvest is hoping to fill over the next few weeks.