If you have a little extra cash on hand this holiday season, consider making donations to organizations that help those in need. Don’t have money to spare? There are still plenty of ways to help others.
See Also: The 7 Best Places To Volunteer In NYC
By Sherry Mazzocchi
Habitat for Humanity
If you’re handy around the house, consider building one. One of the nation’s top-rated charities, Habitat for Humanity recently built a 41-unit housing complex in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Not only do they create affordable housing, they are hard-working advocates for low-income housing. Volunteers can donate skills like hanging drywall, installing insulation or painting. They also take checks.
More than 3 million New Yorkers live off of food stamps. Organizations like City Harvest and New York City Food Bank provide food assistance at soup kitchens, food pantries and mobile markets all over the city. But their resources are stretched just when the need is greatest. Both volunteers and donations are welcome.
Dress for Success
No extra cash this holiday season? Consider donating the suits that are just taking up closet space. Dress for Success provides the means and training for low-income women to get jobs. Your old corporate threads could help someone else land a job and a bright future. Plus, you’ll have more closet space. It’s a win-win.
The high cost of tuition is one of the reasons that more than a third of college students never graduate. Collegeset, started by venture capital firm Juma Ventures, is like Kickstarter for college students. Students open savings accounts and get training in financial literacy. Matching funds are earned when they attain key milestones on the road to college–completing financial aid applications, high school graduation and post-secondary enrollment. Funds are used for tuition, textbooks and school supplies. All contributions are tax-deductible.
New York Blood Center
Blood donations save the lives of people like Matthew Long, a New York City fireman who was hit by a bus on his way to work. His life depended on the 68 transfusions in the two days after his accident. Without volunteer donors, life saving procedures like surgery, transplants and bone marrow donations wouldn’t be possible. Go on, roll up those sleeves.
The Mayor's Alliance for Animals
This organization has prevented the euthanasia of hundreds of thousands of animals. They support hundreds of organizations–big and small– who find homes for stray cats and dogs. They also promote trap, neuter and return (TNR) programs that reduce the city’s huge feral population. Because of them, New York’s Animal Care and Control is on track to becoming a “no kill” facility by 2015. Consider donating time, fostering an animal or just making a cage comforter.