Let's put the "give" back in Thanksgiving this year.
Whether you're proudest of your stuffing-making prowess or your knack for navigating the city sans Google Maps, everyone has a skill they can use to pay it forward by volunteering this week.
Most of the big volunteer efforts around the city's shelters and rescue missions are already booked up, but there's still plenty of room to help at a handful of organizations and even online—whether it's putting together a full T-Day spread or providing a meal for someone in need with the click of a button.
Here are just some of the ways you can give back in New York City:
Prepare (and deliver) a potluck with Gobble Gobble Give.
We'll give you a real reason to test out different turkey recipes this year. Started by friends nearly a decade ago and now powered by an army of volunteers, Gobble Gobble Give is a Thanksgiving Day potluck-meets–coat drive. Head to the Church of the Intercession in Hamilton Heights with a hot pan of whatever you're cooking—turkey, ham, stuffing, dinner rolls (although meat options are most needed). There you'll assemble takeout boxes with everyone else's donated dishes as well as care packages of shelf-stable food, clothing and blankets. If you have a car, bring it over because groups are deployed to find and deliver the goods to homeless New Yorkers across the boroughs.
11/27; 10 a.m. (first come, first serve, so be on time); 550 W. 155th St.
Buy Turkey Day supplies for others with Good Eggs.
While you're still shopping on the online farmers' market for last-minute supplies or stocking up on cranberry sauce, add a little generosity to your basket. The genius that is Good Eggs' Thanksgiving-themed buying guide also has a handy Donations section. Simply click one of the produce items featured—organic cabbage, carrots and sweet potatoes—and, boom, those guys are on their way to grateful bellies by way of City Harvest. The first pound is on Good Eggs, but if you're feeling extra festive, you can add on a cornucopia of fall vegetables by just shelling out a few bucks on top of your T-Day order. But order soon; the offer ends today.
Last day today; online. Donate by adding the vegetables to your existing order: $2.50 for an additional head of cabbage, $3 per additional pound of carrots and $4 per additional pound of sweet potatoes.
Throw a Thanksgiving meal (and another to go) at Project Renewal.
Rehabilitation center Project Renewal has two T-Day events—a banquet at its East Village location and a delivery operation out of the Geffner House near Port Authority—and you're invited to join in. Start early by joining in on dinner prep in the East Village, where you'll cut pies, slice turkeys and finish up sides for dinner later on. Last year, Project Renewal hosted nearly 100 guests, so get ready to carve a whole lotta turkeys. If you're a late riser, go to the Geffner House in the early afternoon to make to-go meals for the 120-plus tenants who call it home.
11/27; 9 a.m., 8 E. Third St.; 1 p.m., 351 W. 42nd St. Sign up by contacting Special Events and Development Coordinator Kelsey Petrone, at 212-620-0340, ext. 396, or by emailing her here.
Pack a winter-ready goody bag for Bowery Mission.
The longtime East Village mission celebrates its 135th all-day Thanksgiving extravaganza, where nearly 1,600 New Yorkers tuck into a turkey dinner and receive a new coat and a "blessing bag." This year, the mission is aiming to hand out 2,000 of these bags on Thanksgiving, and it's still accepting much-needed items, such as hats, gloves, healthy snacks and more (see the full list here). Simply drop off the items at the Mission before the big day. If you've got a big haul, make sure you call ahead of time to let them know.
Now until 11/27; 227 Bowery; 212-674-3456
Donate dinner with God's Love We Deliver.
There's nothing like a home-cooked meal, and this Brooklyn-based nonprofit is all about that. Devoted to feeding those in the tri-state area too sick to cook healthy meals for themselves, God's Love We Deliver roasts and delivers thousands of turkeys each holiday season, and this year its projecting more than 3,800 turkeys to 2,300-plus households. Slots to cook and hand out meals are all filled—they're already 1,000 volunteers strong—but you can still help out by donating a hot meal online through "Celebrate With a Plate." Give back beyond Thanksgiving, too, since the cause continues through December.
Ongoing; online. $10 per meal; purchase here.
Share your state fair–worthy pies at Real Life Church.
Bust out your table-waiting chops at Real Life Church's restaurant-style Thanksgiving meal next year since it's hit volunteer capacity for 2014—but you can still bring over pies, cakes and drinks. And this year, the Bronx church could use some help with a new thing it's starting: care packages. While your baked good is doing its thing in the oven, making your apartment warm and smelling so good, gather any gently used coats (for men, women and children) and toiletries (toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, lotion, etc.) and drop them off at The Point in the Bronx.
Now until 11/27; 940 Garrison Ave., Bronx. Sign up online here.
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