If you’re getting into the giving spirit for the holidays this week, here are five ways you can give back for Thanksgiving.
1. New York Cares Coat Drive
The New York Cares Coat Drive is already underway.
This year’s goal is to collect and distribute 125,000 coats to New Yorkers who would otherwise have to go the winter without one.
You can drop off your new or gently used coat at any police precinct in the city, or at one of several other collection points.
Check out newyorkcares.org/coat-drive to learn more.
2. Help Out in Your Neighborhood
The New York Cares website is also great for finding ways to help New Yorkers in your own neighborhood.
During the holiday season, a lot of people are looking to volunteer, and some large charity groups get overwhelmed and have to turn people away.
But many smaller organizations still need help.
A perfect example is the Coney Island Lighthouse Mission.
It's a small neighborhood group, but it feeds four thousand people every month.
It's distributing turkeys and Thanksgiving meals this year, and is always looking for donations of food and clothing.
Newyorkcares.org lets you search for volunteer opportunities by neighborhood, and even see a map of places that need help.
3. Coalition for the Homeless Holiday Toy Drive
If you’re doing any Black Friday or Cyber Monday shopping soon, consider buying a gift for a homeless child.
The Coalition for the Homeless is holding it's annual holiday toy drive.
There are 23,000 children living in city homeless shelters, and getting a brand new toy makes a big difference for the holiday season.
There’s even a wish list to help you pick out a gift.
You can find out how to donate at coalitionforthehomeless.org.
4. Citymeals On Wheels
There are a lot of New Yorkers who are frail and elderly and are likely to spend Thanksgiving alone.
Citymeals on Wheels will be hand-delivering meals to more than 18,000 people for the holiday this year.
You can volunteer to help deliver meals, or even easier than that -- send a Thanksgiving note to a home-bound senior.
At Citymeals.org, you can write a personal message to go along with a meal that will be delivered to a New Yorker with nowhere to go for the holiday.
According to Citymeals, 57% of their meal recipients live alone, 40 percent rarely or never leave their home, and nearly 1 in 10 say they have no one to talk to.
5. Invite a neighbor to join your Thanksgiving table.
Not everyone is lucky enough to have a relative or friend to share a holiday meal with, and nobody needs that many leftovers.