MANHATTAN – The holidays are a wonderful time to give back to our communities, especially for those living on the Upper East Side. While Covid has changed some logistics for volunteer and donation opportunities, there are still several charitable organizations in our neighborhood that are looking for help this holiday season. Whether it’s contributing your time, cooking skills, old clothes, pantry items, monetary donations, or even your home to a pet-in-need, there’s a variety of ways to give back this December.
Urban Outreach Center
If you’re looking to get involved with a community-oriented philanthropy that focuses on minimizing food insecurity and homelessness, then the Urban Outreach Center, located on First Avenue between East 90th and 91st Streets, is for you.
What we love about this organization is its mission to create a safe environment for those looking to receive a great meal, basic necessities and most importantly, connections to others in the community.
Volunteers can contribute by either giving their time– whether that’s an hour, or all day– or monetary donations. If giving your time, there are a few volunteer opportunities to choose from, these include pantry prep, meal serving, and meal prep.
Learn more here.
Carl Schurz Park
Your stroll down the East River, or walks through the gardens may make you wonder how you can give back or contribute to the future of Carl Schurz Park.
While in-person gardening volunteering at the park is suspended until further notice (due to Covid), those who are interested in supporting the park can still do so.
In fact, the Carl Schurz Park Conservancy has set up a holiday tribute gift, so you can send a donation on behalf of a loved one as a special and memorable present.
ASPCA Animal Fostering
Everyone needs love and support this holiday season, this even includes our four legged friends. The ASPCA located on 91st street between First and York Avenue, is in constant need of fosters – especially for large dogs, neonatal kittens, and shy cats.
ASPCA has now opened up their fostering to an on-demand system thanks to their virtual foster orientation program. This way, it’s more convenient than ever to learn the ins and outs to fostering and open your home to a pet in need.
Take some time out of your day to go through your closet and pick out the pieces you haven’t worn in 2021 and pack them up. Instead of bringing them to a consignment store, donate your used clothing to the local Goodwill located on Second Avenue between East 88th and 89th Streets.
While thrifted clothes themselves are affordable for everyone, the goodwill doesn’t stop there. Their profits are then placed towards community programs that support job training, career placement services, educational classes, and more.
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Ronald McDonald House
Has the last two years made you a pro at platforms like ZOOM and Teams? If so, you may have a wonderful opportunity to volunteer with the Ronald McDonald House on the UES.
Due to COVID the house is not taking on any new in-person volunteers, however, if you have a special skill, passion project, or service you can share with a Ronald McDonald family, you can volunteer your time.
In particular, RMH is looking for workshops or sessions that can help reduce stress, provide a better-all wellbeing and positivity, encouraging strength, and an overall fun time for the families.
If you’re someone who is not particularly good at a de-stress or fun skill, the Ronald McDonald House is also looking for individuals who can contribute to their remote meal program or give monetary donations. Learn more, here.
We hope our roundup has helped encourage your holiday spirit to give back. If you have another philanthropy or charitable organization you like volunteering at on the Upper East Side, let us know and share your stories.