For many of us, Thanksgiving is a joyful gathering of family and friends with a bounty of food and drink to stuff ourselves with and maybe a football game. But for some, Thanksgiving means a lonely vigil with an empty plate and stomach, the children toyless and hungry. There are organizations on Long Island that are dedicated to helping out such individuals, and you and the kids can bask in the altruistic glow of volunteer work.
Long Island Cares Inc., The Harry Chapin Food Bank, Hauppauge
Although they have a wide variety of volunteer openings, the most kid-friendly, with adult supervision, are sorting food in the warehouse, staffing the onsite food pantry, tending to the community garden and helping with food drives.
Mineola, (516) 294-8528
Holbrook, (516) 805-4783
Uniondale, (516) 805-4782
They have a variety of kid-oriented volunteer programs such as the Turkey and Trimmings Collection Campaign, where holiday food for the needy is collected and sorted as well as opportunities for kids to plan and execute their own food drive.
Toys of Hope, Huntington
This organization provides toys, books, clothing, activities and other items to needy and homeless children and their families. Kid-friendly volunteer opportunities include bake sales, car washes, placing donation boxes and handing out flyers.
rockCANroll, Inc., Jericho
Kids can volunteer at arts, music, school and other events to help acquire food for this organization that will stock LI food pantries, soup kitchens, safe homes and shelters.
Helping Hand Rescue Mission, Huntington Station
Through their “Youth Making a Difference” program kids can help the needy by cooking, stocking the food pantry, carrying things, tutoring and more.
Long Island Food Not Bombs
The ultimate in altruism. Kids and adults can become involved in “food shares,” but anything else that is a necessity for the needy will also be available. Food shares occur every Sunday at 1:30pm at Hempstead train station, every Tuesday at E. 6th St. & Fairground Ave. in Huntington and every Thursday at 6:30pm at Horseblock Rd. and Granny Rd. in Farmingville.