By Arianna Geneson
During the holiday season, there are a variety of ways to give back to the community and help those in need on the Upper West Side. Below we provide a list of organizations seeking donations, volunteers, and more. If you are interested in donating or getting involved, please reach out to the contacts included below. Happy Holidays!
The list is concentrated in the northern part of the neighborhood, because much of it is from the Columbus-Amsterdam BID. Charities from other areas should contact us or leave information about their needs in the comments.
221 W 107th Street 212-222-0666
Ascension Church reaches out to the poor, the elderly, those not able to shop, those on food stamps, the homeless, and the hungry. The children of the Ascension Church Religious Education Program run a Food Pantry, Ascension Parish also hosts a Homeless Shelter, and Ascension School, a Catholic elementary school serving pre-K to grade 8, runs an after school tutoring program.
Wish List: We have three ongoing holiday activities—
Santa’s Recycling Event: We are collecting gently used Christmas decorations, knick-knacks, tree-trimmings, Christmas-themed kitchen linens, etc. that we re-sell on Sundays throughout the holiday season. If you’re tired of that old Santa statue, or needing for more space the other 11 months of the year, please drop off your items for the Santa’s Recycling Sale to the Church Rectory. Proceeds go to the children’s religious education program.
Ascension/Holy Trinity Homeless Shelter will be collecting new, MENS socks, hats, gloves, scarves and packaged one-use hand and foot warmers. Donations can be left in the Rectory. Items will be distributed directly to our homeless guests. Our shelter runs every Saturday and Sunday nights, and we are always welcoming new volunteers to set up, clean up, cook, and sleep over. Monetary donations are greatly appreciated as well.
The Ascension Food Pantry collects dry, packaged foods and canned goods for distribution to the poor of our neighborhood on the third Saturday of the month, and we will be doing additional distributions over the holidays.
All donations can be left in the Ascension Church rectory at 221 West 107th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day. For more information, email Robin at email@example.com, or call 212-749-5938.
AUGUST AICHHORN CENTER FOR ADOLESCENT RESIDENTIAL CARE, INC.
23 W 106th Street 212-316-9353
The Aichhorn Center is a non-profit corporation organized in New York City in 1977. Its mission is to assist teenagers by providing residential treatment services. It remains a prototype model for providing meaningful treatment to youth who cannot be managed in ordinary group homes or institutional settings. Here children develop long-term and close interactions with the supportive adults that care for them in their daily lives. This program is intensive and includes complete educational and recreational facilities at the site and a staff-patient ratio of 3 to 1.
Wish List: Double Dutch ropes, digital cameras, laptops and/or tablets, art supplies, board games, puzzles, young adult reading materials, DVDs and CD
BLOOMINGDALE FAMILY PROGRAM, INC.
125 W 109th Street 212-663-4067
Since its inception in 1960, the Bloomingdale Family Program has served thousands of preschool children and their families.
The program is a pioneer in early childhood education, special education, and parent development. Bloomingdale provides a wide range of services that include parent support groups, family literacy initiatives, on-site speech, and play therapy for children. We serve 135 children from age 2-5 years old within three locations in this community.
Wish List: new iPads, yarn and crochet needles, financial contributions, gift cards, new toys and games for preschoolers, and volunteers.
BOOKER T. WASHINGTON BEACON 54 (A Program of Harlem Children’s Zone)
103 W 107th Street www.hcz.org
The Booker T. Washington Beacon 54 (BTW) aims to help students achieve academic success, while also helping them become healthier and more engaged in the world around them. In addition to providing homework help and tutoring, BTW employs specialized teaching artists, who introduce students to photography, video, dance, art, karate, organized sports and career development. BTW also offers a wide range of programming for adults, including GED, ESL, salsa, yoga, boot camp, Zumba, and nutrition classes. Our overall mission is to combat generational poverty and minimize the achievement gap in our communities.
Wish List: Tablets (Kindles, galaxy tabs, literacy software) American Doll , Baby Alive Doll, Bey Blades, Scooters, skate boards, New diary of a Wimpy Kid, Captain Underpants books, Lego sets, Action figures, Match box Cars) Middle School- Headphones, IPhone chargers, Portable charger, Make up- Portfolio art set, Sport socks, Laptops, Basketball, Kyrie Irving book bags, Girl Shoulder bags, Infinity scarves, Blanket Scarf, Bluetooth speakers, Bluetooth portable sound speaker. High School- Left hand baseball glove, T-shirts, Socks, video games for PS4 (Basketball, Baseball, Need for Speed)
THE BRIDGE, INC.
Clinical Hub: 248 W. 108th Street 212-663-3000
Executive Offices: 290 Lenox Avenue
The Bridge, founded in 1954, is a social service agency that serves over 2,700 New Yorkers with serious mental illness. The Bridge’s comprehensive services include supportive housing (with 5 residences on the Upper West Side), mental health and substance abuse treatment (provided at the Clinical Hub in Morningside Heights), veterans’ services, health care in collaboration with the Ryan Health Center, care coordination, urban farming, and creative arts therapies. More than 1,200 adults with serious mental illness, young adults aging out of residential treatment and foster care, veterans, seniors, and low income families are housed in Bridge residences in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx.
Wish List: warm socks, gloves, scarves, arts and craft supplies, and board games. Monetary donations to support programs and services are deeply appreciated and can be made online www.thebridgeny.org or by check (best mailed to the agency’s Executive Offices at 290 Lenox Avenue, 3rd Floor, NYC 10027). The Bridge is a 501(c)3 organization.
CATHEDRAL COMMUNITY CARES
1047 Amsterdam Ave 212-316-7583
The mission of Cathedral Community Cares (CCC) is to combat and alleviate poverty through preventive poverty services, education and advocacy–specifically targeting the issues of health and hunger. CCC runs a Sunday Soup Kitchen, serving breakfast at 10am, lunch at 12:30pm, and take-home supper every week. They also host a Clothing Closet, open on Tuesday and Thursday for distribution between 10am and 1pm (clients must arrive before 12:30pm.) Additionally, CCC advises clients on SNAP Certification and Re-Certification by appointment and provides Health Education and Screenings.
Wish List: non-perishable unopened food items; men’s and women’s winter clothing; new, unwrapped toys (all donations must be received before Dec 17); unopened, travel-sized hygiene products The best times to drop off donated items are Mondays and Wednesdays from 10am-5pm.
THE CHILDREN’S AID SOCIETY
885 Columbus Ave 212-865-6337
The Children’s Aid Society at Frederick Douglass Center provides essential services to children and families on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The center was founded in 1958 by The Children’s Aid Society, and today, more than 600 children and their families use the center each day. The facilities include a full-service library, gymnasium, outdoor playground facilities, and after-school and nursery classrooms. Services include: Head Start, Child Care, After-School and Summer Camps for Elementary and Middle School, Teen Programs, and an AAU Basketball program.
Wish List: board games (e.g. UNO, Monopoly, Trouble, Sorry), variety of girl & boy toys (ages 5-14)
CLUSTER HOUSE (URBAN PATHWAYS)
904 Amsterdam Ave 212-736-7385 ext. 220
Urban Pathways serves as the first point of contact for homeless New Yorkers. We engage individuals “where they are at” through our strong network of services to help individuals move into housing and minimize the likelihood of ever returning to the streets. Urban Pathways offers arts and crafts classes to our clients and is currently seeking donations of supplies to benefit at-risk and formerly homeless New Yorkers. For more information on where and how to donate, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Wish List: Welcome Kits (as new residents move in, they are given a kit of necessary items to start of life in their new apartment—i.e. wastebasket, shower mat, pillow, oven mitt, etc.), MetroCards, Turkeys, Canned and boxed food, Toiletries, toothbrushes, deodorant, soap, lotion, Arts and class supplies for classes. Also art supplies: craft paints (watercolor, oil, and acrylic), wood crafts, papier maché, glue, paint brushes, adult coloring books, unfinished frames, wood craft sticks, colored pencils, stencils, drawing paper, construction paper, crayons, glitter, scissors, rulers, easels, and palettes
COLUMBUS AMSTERDAM BID
Columbus Amsterdam BID is a not-for-profit organization that works to improve conditions in the neighborhood of Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues from 96th to 110th Streets. We supplement city services and work with NYC agencies and Community Board 7.
Some of our current projects include:
- Daily sidewalk sweep
- Tree care and flower planting
- Tree guard maintenance
- Graffiti removal
- Holiday lighting
- Listing of commercial vacancies
- Monthly EVENTS calendar
- Family Days festivals
- History Walks and Talks with Bloomingdale Neighborhood History Group
More information at www.columbusamsterdambid.org or on Twitter @Col_AmBID
The BID has worked with local restaurants between 96th and 110th Streets to create Bloomingdale Restaurants. To that end, we have sponsored six Taste of Bloomingdale: Flavors of the World events and have launched a new website highlighting some of the 100+ restaurants in this area. Learn more at www.bloomingdalerestaurants.nyc
If you would like to learn more about what we do, please call or email us.
More information at www.columbusamsterdambid.org or on Twitter @Col_AmBID
The BID has worked with local restaurants between 96th and 110th Streets to create Bloomingdale Restaurants. To that end, we have sponsored three Taste of Bloomingdale: Flavors of the World events and have launched a new website highlighting some of the 100+ restaurants in this area. Learn more at www.bloomingdalerestaurants.nyc
If you would like to learn more about what we do, please call or email us.
COLUMBUS AMSTERDAM BID
991 Amsterdam Avenue New York, NY 10025
Peter Arndtsen, District Manager
DOMINICAN SUNDAY, INC.
175 W 107th Street 212-749-0781
Dominican Sunday, Inc. is a non-profit organization founded in 1995 and is committed to empowering and providing a variety of support to the residents of the West Harlem, Manhattan Valley, and Morningside communities. Currently, the organization offers a variety of support in the following areas: adult education (citizenship, ESL, and GED classes), and computer classes.
Wish List: new awning for storefront, electronic gate, laser printer, copy machine, 5 sets of mouse and keyboard for PCs, 11 new office chairs, volunteers (skills: grant writing, fundraising, receptionist)
FRANCISCAN COMMUNITY CENTER
214 W 97th Street 212-932-8040
The Franciscan Community Center (FCC) exists to serve the people of Manhattan’s Upper West Side and reach out to all, in particular the poor, the alienated, and immigrant populations. FCC develops, manages, and supports educational, recreational, and outreach programs that create positive change in the lives of those it serves. FCC offers programs and services in the following areas: the FCC Thrift Shop, Art & Painting, Babies & Toddlers, Counseling, Legal & Social Referral Services, Food Pantry & 97th Street Sandwich Line.
Wish List: household donations (pots, pans, cups, clothing, furniture), monetary donations to maintain Food Pantry intake
GODDARD RIVERSIDE COMMUNITY CENTER AND OUTREACH CONSORTIUM
Goddard Riverside Community Center serves some 20,000 people each year with 30 programs at 23 sites on the Upper West Side and throughout Manhattan. Our programs include college counseling, supportive housing, employment readiness, older adult services, outreach to homeless people, and early childhood and youth services. We work every day for a fair and just society where all people have the opportunity to make choices that lead to better lives for themselves and their families. We currently have three opportunities for which we are seeking your support.
Christmas Meal: Every year on Thanksgiving and Christmas we serve a share a holiday meal with more than 1,000 of our neighbors. We’re seeking donations of food such as turkeys, pies and cookies for our Christmas meal. Contact: Brianne Kilpatrick, email@example.com, 212-873-6600 x 314.
Clothing Drive: Goddard Riverside at Lincoln Square Neighborhood Center is accepting donations of new hats, gloves and socks. They may be left at the front desk at 250 W 65th St, New York, NY 10023. Phone: (212) 874-0860.
Tutoring: The Star Learning Center needs volunteer tutors for low-income students in grades 2-12. To become a tutor, fill out an application at https://www.goddard.org/grcc/volunteer/starlearning/.
JEWISH HOME LIFECARE
120 W 106th Street 212-870-4618
Jewish Home Lifecare provides healthcare services and assistance for elders. With more than 160 years of experience as a not-for-profit elder care system, Jewish Home provides a network of care and serves as a resource for aging elders and caregivers. Our Research Institute on Aging works to expand knowledge of the aging experience and models of service and to contribute to the quality of care and quality of life afforded to older adults and their families. Jewish Home Lifecare’s staff, trustees, and partners strive to be a vital force in serving elders and those who care for them.
Wish List: iPods, Kindles, new headphones, portable CD players, portable DVD players, DVDs, arts & craft supplies, beads, new cosmetics, lotions, new caps, new scarves, costume jewelry, NY Times Subscription, Daily News Subscription, books on CDs, new large print books, holiday gifts for seniors
LIFEFORCE IN LATER YEARS
- O. Box 250402 917-775-1199
At a time when a multitude of frail elders are living alone, Lifeforce in Later Years or LiLY is addressing a major crisis in elder-care. Our cadre of volunteers, who are neighbors, help elders with practical matters, connect them to community and needed services, and create lasting new friendships. Our aim is to help people to age comfortably in their own homes if possible, and it’s all free of charge. As less than 3% of all charity is earmarked for the elderly, your donation is especially important. We are currently serving elders living between W.105th and W.135th Streets between Riverside Drive and Amsterdam Avenue/Convent Avenue. If you live in this area and would like to join a great team of volunteers, please call 917-775-1199.
Wish List: Monetary donations, small raffle prizes, such as lunch or dinner for two, fancy food for January community party, volunteers (to visit seniors or help with other programs)
MOM’S CHRISTMAS STOCKING
Honoring their late mother, June Parker, the founders of Mom’s Christmas Stocking organize an annual event to fill stockings for Women In Need (WIN) www.women-in-need.org. Th stockings are distributed to women and children. This year’s event will take place on Sunday, December 17th from 1-3pm at the GRFP Studio. Mom’s Christmas Stocking accepts donations of goods and funds for stockings (donate thru PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wish List: Makeup, travel-sized toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, lotion, soap), deodorant, hair products and accessories (such as combs and brushes), jewelry, toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, nail kits, emery boards, nail polish, socks, trouser socks, slipper socks, candy, chocolate, mints, candles, handmade items, hats, gloves, pashmina scarves, pens, notebooks, pocket calendars, journals, NEW baby items (bibs, socks, onesies, t-shirts, pajamas), child safe items (toys, bottles, pacifiers, baby care kits, wipes, diapers), gift certificates for teens (ideas: Gap, Old Navy, popular eateries)
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF JEWISH WOMEN NEW YORK
241 W 72nd Street 212-799-7283
NCJW NY is a grassroots organization of volunteers and advocates who turn progressive ideals into action. Inspired by Jewish values, NCJW NY strives for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children, and families and by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms. NCJW NY serves New Yorkers from all walks of life, from all racial and religious backgrounds. For more than 120 years, NCJW NY has been fostering women’s leadership and addressing the city’s inequities through both direct social services and advocacy for systemic change. NCJW NY organizes many programs and opportunities to give back, but at this time of year, our Hunger Program could use the greatest support. If you are interested in donating please visit the following link: https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/weblink.aspx?name=E84344&id=72
ONE STOP AT JASA
(Jewish Association Serving the Aging)
475 Riverside Drive
One Stop at JASA provides a vital, life-sustaining services to older adults so that they can remain at home with dignity and independence, even as their needs change. Serving clients New York City’s Upper West Side, the program helps older adults establish their eligibility for benefits as well as manage paperwork, schedule appointments, and handle multiple other requirements for accessing these benefits. One Stop at JASA enables clients to take full advantage of the safety net that they need and deserve, but which is often difficult to navigate. Your donation this holiday season will make an important difference to the roughly 4,400 clients served by the program. To make a donation visit www.jasa.org/donate or email email@example.com.
OPEN DOOR CHILD CARE CENTER
820 Columbus Ave 212-749-5572
Open Door Child Care Center was organized in 1958 and provides day care for children aged two to five years old. Open Door is committed to working closely with parents and other caregivers and developing the potential of each child, regardless of disability or disadvantage. The Center also collaborates with other organizations, both within the educational and political arenas, to secure additional resources to expand quality programs for preschool children. Open Door partners with public and private schools at the elementary level in order to effect a smooth transition between preschool and school-based programs.
Wish List: laptops or computers for teachers, children books, folding chairs
RUTGERS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
236 W. 73rd Street 212-877-8227
Rutgers Presbyterian Church, with friends and neighbors, has been co-sponsoring 2 Syrian families as part of the U.S. Refugee Admission Program. The church has established a Refugee Relief Fund which assists these families and other refugees in the U.S. and overseas. Learn more about our efforts and donate at https://www.rutgerschurch.org/we-still-choose-welcome-3/
RYAN COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTER
110 W 97th Street 212-316-7905
The William F. Ryan Community Health Center is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) that was founded on the principle that “health care is a right, not a privilege.” For over 50 years, Ryan has provided high quality, affordable, culturally and linguistically competent, primary, preventive, specialty health care and support services to medically underserved populations in Manhattan.
Wish List: new or gently used children’s books to provide to our pediatric patients, Volunteers for toy party (Dec 2 from 8 am to 1 pm, Dec 15 at both Chelsea Location and Lower East Side location, 4-7)
MICHAEL’S EPISCOPAL CHURCH
225 W 99th Street 212-222-2700
For over 35 years St. Michael’s has served a good hot meal to all who are hungry on Saturday mornings from 10 to 11:30 am. We can always use volunteers! There’s no sign-up — just show up at 8:30 am at our Parish House, 225 W. 99th Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam) and ask for the program director, Marilyn Thompson. We start serving at 10 am and end about 11:30. You will be done by noon. The Pilgrim Resource Center also provides referrals to social services, such as food pantries, meals, clothing, and essential personal items.
Wish List: new socks, gloves, t-shirts, underwear, warm caps, scarves; MetroCards with 2 ride balances; restaurant pot-holders, frozen turkeys and hams for holiday soup kitchen meal
SAMARITAN DAYTOP VILLAGE
68 W 106th St 212-666-1411
Samaritan Village’s Veritas House is a comprehensive, drug-free, residential treatment program for men and women with life-threatening addictions providing special services to the families and children of those in recovery. Veritas operates three residential treatment facilities along with prevention services, early intervention services for infants and toddlers, vocational and parenting skills and GED classes. The VERITAS mission is to heal the family and break the cycle of addiction.
Wish List: warm men and women’s socks, children’s socks, gloves for kids, adult men, and women
TRINITY LUTHERAN CHURCH
164 W 100th Street 212-222-7045
Trinity Lutheran Church’s Creative Learning Center (CLC) is a free after-school program for elementary aged children. CLC is a safe, caring environment for children to engage creatively with topics covered in school. Trinity Place Shelter (TPS) is a non-sectarian transitional shelter for LGBTQ 18-25 year olds. TPS provides residents a safe space to sleep, eat, store belongings, access transportation, counseling, and additional independent living supportive services. Trinity will also be offering a healthy, filling Christmas Breakfast on December 25.
Wish List: food items or financial contributions for the Christmas breakfast; Gift Cards (CVS, Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks), new toiletries
VOLUNTEERS OF AMERICA REGENT FAMILY RESIDENCE
2720 Broadway 212-865-7000
Founded in 1896, Volunteers of America is a national, faith based human service organization whose purpose and mission is to serve and uplift all people. Volunteers of America’s Regent Family Residence is a transitional family shelter serving 140 families. The program provides 24-hour security, on-site childcare classrooms, recreation rooms, and staff offices. Comprehensive support services are provided on-site to meet the specific needs of families with the goal of preventing future homelessness.
Wish List: school supplies, new toys, snacks, baby products (diapers, wipes, bottles), feminine products, hygiene products (toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, conditioner, soap), coats, new children’s clothing, holiday decorations
WEST END PRESBYTERIAN
165 W 105th Street 212-663-2900 ext. 11
West End Presbyterian, partnered with the Interfaith Assembly on Housing and Homelessness and other West Side Congregations, is sponsoring the Panim El Panim Life-Skills Empowerment Program. The program is a twelve week, twenty-four session program developed for men and women who are formerly or presently homeless. Panim El Panim has been in operation for seven years, and two semesters are planned for 2017 (Feb-May and Sept-Dec.) West End also hosts a food panty every Tuesday and Thursday from 11:30-12:30.
Wish List: family-style meal (sponsor a meal for 12-20 people), financial contribution for the WEPC food pantry.
WEST SIDE CAMPAIGN AGAINST HUNGER
236 W 86th Street 212-362-3662
West Side Campaign Against Hunger provides emergency food assistance to people who cannot meet the food needs of themselves and their families. Last year we provided food for nearly 1.3 million meals to 8,529 families. We offer people food in our supermarket-style pantry, where they can choose the food that is best for their families. All of the food in our pantry is healthy and always includes fresh fruits and vegetables. The low-income families who turn to us come from diverse backgrounds: seniors, working families, students, the unemployed, undocumented immigrants, and the disabled. In addition, when families come to us for food we help them in other long-term ways, such as access to community resources, benefits and job training.
Wish List: During the holiday season community members can help in the following ways:
Make a donation to help us purchase nutritious food. Here is the link to do so.
Purchase food directly through our virtual food drive
Donate toys or lightly worn clothing to go to low-income families. In-kind donations can be dropped off at 263 West 86 Street, basement level from 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday.
Volunteer in our pantry (we need more than a one day commitment) To learn more about volunteer opportunities email Becker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WEST SIDE FEDERATION FOR SENIOR AND SUPPORTIVE HOUSING
Center at the Red Oak
135 W 106th Street 212-749-7015
West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing was formed in 1976 by a coalition of social service agencies, religious institutions, and community organizations. In addition to serving independent seniors, we serve frail elderly individuals, older persons living with serious mental illnesses, homeless individuals, persons living with physically handicapping conditions, grandparents raising their grandchildren, and families. Today we house almost 2000 residents in 26 buildings. The WSFSSH supportive housing model integrates compassionate property management with on-site social services. Working together with our residents, our mission is to provide safe and affordable housing that supports the dignity of each individual and enhances community both inside and outside our buildings. Donations to WSFSSH can be made by visiting http://www.wsfssh.org/ and selecting the “Support Us” tab
Wish List: tables, chairs, table cloths, arts and crafts supplies, yarn, fabric, jewelry making supplies, light weightlifting equipment, ping-pong table