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Photograph: Courtesy Rebecca Davis

Thanksgiving and holiday volunteer opportunities in NYC

Give back this holiday season with these holiday volunteer opportunities in NYC.

Written by
Jillian Anthony

The holiday season brings cheer and merriment, but it’s also a time to count blessings and reflect on what matters most. As we all enjoy the bounty of the season, it’s a time to think about giving back too. Volunteering is important any time of year, but some organizations experience increased demand for services over the holidays as they seek to help those in need around the city. There are many Thanksgiving and holiday volunteer opportunities in NYC, and you can sign up to make a difference. Even small actions count, and anything from sorting and delivering meals to helping out at a pet shelter can help during the holiday season. These organizations offer services that are especially important during the holidays, and extra hands are always welcome. But remember — help is needed throughout the year, so consider adding a regular volunteer shift to your schedule after helping out this Thanksgiving or Christmas.

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Holiday volunteer opportunities in NYC

If you have a car, this organization, which feeds 18,000 homebound elderly New Yorkers annually, is ready to put you into action. As always, the organization will need as many hands as possible during holiday season, so be sure to sign up for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s opportunities, and it'll be in touch.

A clone of L.A.’s holiday meal delivery program, GGG welcomes 500 volunteers to gather at the Church of Intercession in Harlem on Thanksgiving and assemble takeout meals for 200-plus predetermined families and indiviuals in shelters or low-income housing. Sign up online to put together meals or drop them off via car, and if the volunteer capacity happens to fill up, you are welcome to donate cooked turkey, vegetables or desserts or any canned goods, as well as clothing, toiletries, toys and children’s books.


Have a car? Perfect! GLWD’s (nonsectarian) mission is to serve food to those too ill to shop or cook for themselves, shlepping over 6,500 dinners each Turkey Day all around the city. So sign up through email—and quick! Come December, you can deliver meals for Winter Feast on Christmas Eve morning or decorate the delivery bags beforehand.

This soup kitchen and food pantry hands out hot meals daily and bundles of groceries weekly. Masbia’s locations in Rego Park and Flatbush can use helping hands for cooking, food prep and meal serving for the Jewish High Holidays, Thanksgiving, Hannukah and beyond. Email to sign up to volunteer Sundays through Thursdays at one of Masbia’s four centers in Brooklyn and Queens. You can also show up on Thanksgiving if the spirit moves you; just know the center may already have enough people on hand. Fill out the volunteer application online, and remember, you can always donate food as well.


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