Give Of Yourself
Donations Often Are The Most Rewarding Gifts
Volunteering your time is a great present.
By T heresa Juva
Lending a hand to someone is a hallmark of the holiday season, and whether its visiting a senior center, donating last year’s fashions to a clothing drive, or spending an hour to serve a hot meal, taking a break from the glitz of garland and the frenzy of finishing your family’s wish list might be the merriest thing you do – and can turn into an all-year habit.
Give out food at a pantry in Western Queens: Jackson Heights-Elmhurst Kehillah, Inc. sponsors a monthly food distribution that happens on Wednesday in the middle of every month when 400 food packs are dispersed. Steve Hirsch, executive director, said volunteers are needed the Monday before the distribution to carry and unpack the food shipments.
Kehillah is one of the only pantries in Queens that makes kosher food available. Hirsch said pantry use increases when the weather gets colder, and the elderly or those without a car have more difficulty getting to a store. Call Steve at (718) 457-4591 for more details.
Wrap gifts, serve meals, give out clothes and toys in Rockaway: On Dec. 21, United Methodist Center in Far Rockaway will sponsor a holiday meal expected to attract about 100 people, Bernadette Logan said. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the center usually serves sandwiches and provides clothing, and volunteers are needed for this event to pack food, distribute toys to children and help clean up after the meal. Call Bernadette at (718) 327-8460.
Teach a senior a skill/ Be a companion: Make a trip to a senior center of the Jewish Association for Services for the Aged and share your trade. Lead an arts and crafts session, give a historical event lecture or teach the basics of a foreign language.
JASA is the largest social service for the elderly in the New York area with 26 centers in the City and Long Island and seniors centers in Whitestone, Astoria, Jamaica, Jackson Heights and Far Rockaway. Help is also needed for the Friendly Visiting program that keeps seniors connected through regular hour-long visits with volunteers. There is also a phone reassurance program where volunteers make weekly check-up calls to an elderly or homebound person and provide social interaction. Call Alexandra Collier, director of volunteer services, at (212) 273-5291.
Let your old stuff live a second life: Bring your used books, clothes, and electronics to the Goodwill Industries of Greater New York at 32-36 Steinway St. in Astoria (718) 932-0418; J-CAP, a southeastern Queens chemical dependency facility, needs dressers and beds to renovate their rooms at an 80-bed center in St. Albans. They also need several air-conditioners, and pick-up is possible for some donations. Email RBrinn@jcapprograms.com or call (718) 712-1100; Support Queens arts by donating art supplies, electronics and that old guitar collecting dust in your basement to the Material for Arts in Long Island City. It uses the donated paintbrushes, easels and old sheet music in City public schools and art programs. Call (718) 729-3001.
Give a critter a Christmas gift: Animal Haven, an animal shelter at 35-22 Prince St. in Flushing, has a wish list of supplies needed for the pet sanctuary including: cat condos, small round cat beds, bath towels, sheets and blankets, canned dog and cat food and dog leashes. For a full list see www.animalhavenshelter.org or call (718) 886-3683.