By Nancy Mandell, guest blogger
New York City has so much to offer; sometimes it feels good to give the city something back. With the exception of Ebenezer Scrooge (Bah humbug!) the holiday season seems to foster our most benevolent inclinations. With this in mind, I thought it would be a good time to investigate opportunities to volunteer our services to those in need.
The first Website I landed on turned out to be New York Cares, the organization that sponsors an annual Winter Coat Drive, extending this year through the 31st of the month. After all, the weather outside really is frightful these days, and the only thing worse than being there is being outside without a coat!
It turns out that New York Cares has filled its holiday volunteer openings. Some are busy sorting the coats that are already being picked up by shelters and other non-profit agencies. Moreover, the organization requires its volunteers to register and attend a 45-minute orientation before browsing its database for the thousands of volunteer opportunities this city offers. Held several times a week in locations across the city, the next scheduled Manhattan orientation with openings will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14 at organization headquarters, 214 W. 29th Street at Seventh Ave. The Website features the complete lists of dates, times and venues.
Meanwhile, there is still time to donate your gently used coats towards this year’s goal of 80,000 garments! On Dec. 16, the Mets collected 1,568 coats in a single day at their third annual Mets Warm-Up at Citi Field.
Drop-offs are located throughout the city (see below), but what is truly amazing is that sponsors of some drop-off points are offering bonuses in exchange for coats! For example:
You’ll receive 25% off regularly priced items at Uncle Sam’s Army Navy Outfitters when you donate a coat or purchase a low-priced surplus coat from the store to be donated;
- Vivienne Tam’s SoHo Boutique will take 20% off full-price or 10% off sale- priced merchandise when you drop off a coat;
- You can get free tickets to the Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium, or Brooklyn Children’s Museum when you donate a coat at their respective drop-off centers;
- Club H Fitness offers free enrollment for new members (a $199 value) when you donate a coat, and Families First Chiropractic will give free consultations, exams, and treatments to new patients who have a coat to spare.
Where else—and when—can you drop off a coat?
- Anytime at: Every New York City Police Precinct, Brooklyn Borough Hall, Janovic Plaza Paint and Decorating Centers, Oz Moving and Storage locations, The Pond at Bryant Park (42nd and 6th Ave), and Time Warner Cable stores
- Weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. in the Graybar Passage of Grand Central Terminal, New York Penn Station at the LIRR and NJ Transit/Amtrak concourses, and New York Port Authority Bus Terminal at the 42nd St. entrance to the main concourse.
- Weekdays, 7:00 am to 3:00 p.m. at the U.S. Coast Guard Recruiting and Service Center by the Staten Island Ferry, Manhattan.