Giving during the Season of Giving

Natalia Ketaren

Fall has broken, the nights are getting chillier and the holiday season is fast approaching. For many of us, this is a time for family, giving, and quality time with loved ones. The words “Joy,” “Merry,” and “Spirit” are in abundance. They are a reminder that with this cold, wintery season approaching, we shouldn’t be wintery inside. This holiday season is steeped with virtuous traditions. At the core of them all is a time of reflection, making us thankful for the positive things that have come our way. Often these moments of reflection encourage us to share our giving spirit to our unseen neighbors here in New York City, our neighbors in need.

Here are a few suggestions to give to those in need in NYC during this holiday season:

New York Cares Winter Wishes

In NYC every year, one in ten NYC students experience homelessness. The “Winter Wishes” program run by New York City Cares is a holiday gift drive aimed at providing gifts to children and teens from low-income families. Children and families write “winter wish” letters that are matched with volunteers. This is a wonderful way to spread some cheer this holiday season. Visit for more information.

Hope For New York

I’ve been volunteering with HFNY for many years now. They are a non-denominational Christian organization that is affiliated with many charitable organizations, offering support to our most vulnerable neighbors here in NYC. Their mission is for NYC to be, “…a city in which all people experience spiritual, social, and economic flourishing through the demonstration of Christ’s love.” Their website allows you to navigate through their many opportunities, which range from educational support for low-income individuals, to assisting with meal services for the needy. Visit for more information.

Coat Drives

We all know the necessity of a warm coat during this holiday season. There are many places in the city to donate a gently used coat you’ve lost need of. New York Cares has an annual coat drive with many drop off location throughout the city. Additionally, the New Museum partners with their neighbor, The Bowery Mission, to collect coats and shoes for those in need, which usually spans the end of November to the end of December. Those who donate typically get free admission to the museum. You can also drop your coat and shoes (and any other clothes you may no longer need) directly at The Bowery Mission, which is right next door. Visit and for more information.

For direct drop-offs at the Bowery Mission, visit 227 Bowery, New York, NY 10002 (open 24 hours)

God’s Love We Deliver

Many of our sick neighbors in NYC find it difficult to afford healthy meal options. “God’s Love We Deliver” cooks, prepares, and delivers nutritious, medically tailored meals for those too unwell to do so for themselves. You can donate on their site or get involved directly by volunteering with them. Visit for more information.

These are just a few ways to give this holiday season!

Final note: there can be a tendency to be overwhelmed this time of year. One thing to remember is that there is no small gift–if it comes from a place of kindness.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!