(Credit: Courtesy Photo/1 Hotels)

(Credit: Courtesy Photo/1 Hotels)

It is the season of gift giving, family visits and giving back to other that are less fortunate. From helping to find a cure for childhood cancer to providing food to the homeless, here are some simple ways to give back this holiday season. By John Friia/Sherry Mazzocchi

Macy's Herald Square/file. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

Macy’s Herald Square/file. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)


Multiple Locations

More: Best Holiday Window Displays In NYC

For the past nine years, children and adults can visit Macy’s and write a letter to Santa to help raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. As part of their “Believe” campaign, Macy’s plans to raise a million dollars to help grant wishes for children with threatening illnesses. After writing your letter, drop it into one of Macy’s giant red mailboxes. Macy’s will donate one dollar for every letter sent. Since the program’s conception, Macy’s has raised around $100 million for the non-profit organization.

St. Jude Research Hospital

(Credit: St. Jude Children’s Research Hosptial)

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

More: Best Places To Volunteer In NYC

As people continue their holiday shopping, they can help the fight against childhood cancer at over 70 national retailers. St. Jude’s annual holiday campaign “Thanks and Giving,” raises awareness and funds to end childhood cancer. Throughout December, people can head to HomeGoods, New York & Company, Best Buy, Zales and Lane Bryant to add a donation with their purchase. Click here for more information.

(Credit: Courtesy Photo/Dare2B/Book Of Kringle Dare)

(Credit: Courtesy Photo/Dare2B/Book Of Kringle Dare)


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Striving to help homeless children in the city, Dare2B is a New York-based charity that has partnered with the makers of the holiday classic “The Book of Kringle – Legend of the North Pole” this season. The nonprofit’s mission is to provide transitional living for homeless children and programs that help break the cycle of poverty. During the holiday season, when people purchase the book from the Dare2B website, half of the proceeds with be donated to help brighten the lives of homeless children throughout the city.

(Credit: Courtesy Photo/1 Hotels)

(Credit: Courtesy Photo/1 Hotels)

1 Hotels

Multiple Locations

More: Best Charity Thrift Shops In NYC

This luxury hotel brand, with locations in NYC and in South Beach, is encouraging guests to leave gently-used clothing in their “1 Less Thing” donation boxes located in every guest room. The items are then donated to Housing Works, a non-profit organizing dedicating to ending the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS. The clothing items that are donated at 1 Hotels help raise funds to provide life-saving services for the homeless living with HIV-related illnesses. For example, a designer dress that sells at Housing Works thrift store can provide three weeks of hot meals for a homeless HIV+ mother and her child. For more information, click here.

(Credit: Tom's)

(Credit: Tom’s)


Holiday Gift Guide: Men’s, Women’s Fashion

Following their mission of providing shoes, water and safe birth to people in need, Toms is a shoe company that is at the forefront of the “One for One” campaign. When people purchase shoes, including their new Red and Black Plaid Slippers, Toms will donate a pair to someone in need. The fashion company offers stylish shoes, eyewear and bags.

Building exterior walls first day of working with Habitat. (credit: Katie Kushner)

Building exterior walls first day of working with Habitat. (credit: Katie Kushner)

Habitat for Humanity

111 John St.
New York, NY

If you’re handy around the house, consider building one. One of the nation’s top-rated charities, Habitat for Humanity creates affordable housing and serve as hard-working advocates for low-income housing. Volunteers can donate skills like hanging drywall, installing insulation or painting. They also take checks.

(credit: City Harvest)

City Harvest

575 Eighth Ave.
New York, NY

Millions of 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.

(image: courtesy of Dress for Success)

(image: courtesy of Dress for Success)

Dress for Success

32 East 31st St.
New York, NY

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.

FILE -- A woman donates blood at the New York Blood Center (credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

FILE — A woman donates blood at the New York Blood Center (credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

New York Blood Center

310 E. 67th St.
New York, NY

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.

(Photo Credit: Bill E. Axell/Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals)

(Photo Credit: Bill E. Axell/Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals)

Mayor’s Alliance for Animals

244 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY

More: NYC Pet Adoption Guide 

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. Consider donating time, fostering an animal or just making a cage comforter.

John Friia is a freelance journalist and native New Yorker writing about food, drinks and lifestyle. You can follow his adventures on Instagram.