Western Brooklyn

Giving Back In Bensonhurst: Where To Donate And Volunteer This Thanksgiving

The food donated to City Harvest will go to more than 500 soup kitchens, food pantries and other programs across the city. Photo via City Harvest
The food donated to City Harvest will go to more than 500 soup kitchens, food pantries and other programs across the city. Photo via City Harvest

New York Cares, New York City’s largest volunteer network, announced this week that, post-election, they have seen an explosion of volunteer registrations — the biggest increase since Hurricane Sandy, back in 2012. Indeed, their programs serving English Speakers of Other Languages increased by 137.3 percent last week as compared to the same week in 2015, they said in a release.

Locally, however, programs are having a harder time procuring money, food, and toy donations. In this giving season, there are plenty of ways to channel your time, money, or unused toys to the needy: here are a few places to do it in our community.

Feed a family

New Utrecht Avenue based Reach Out Community Services, which has more than 500 families registered at their food back, is struggling to feed all the names on their list of hungry. So far, they only have enough donations to feed 300 families, with 250 families on their Thanksgiving package waiting list.

“We don’t know what to tell them other than if we receive support we would be glad to call them,” the group stated in a heartbreaking email titled “Will there be Thanksgiving for all :(“.

According to the group, this is the “first time in a long time” they’ve had to create a waiting list” and donations are at an “all-time low.”

The group’s Founder & Executive Director Tom Neve posted a heartbreaking video on Facebook asking for donations.

It only costs $20 to buy a family a turkey and other holiday items through Reaching Out’s Operation Gobbler Giving website. For $200, you’ll feed nine families.

As well, our sister site Ditmas Park Corner has partnered with CAMBA’s Beyond Hunger Emergency Food Pantry for the fourth year running to bring Thanksgiving meals to hundreds of local families. Here are the details:

Where: 2241 Church Avenue between Flatbush and Bedford Avenues.
What: Support Camba and DPC’s 500 turkeys for 500 families effort. Last year, our community came together and gave almost $11,000, which meant CAMBA fed hundreds of local families. We think we can do that again, and do it even better. Donate to the turkey drive here.

Donate a toy

Meanwhile, if you’d rather give toys than money, Assemblyman William Colton has teamed up with community leaders Nancy Tong and Charles Ragusa to distribute hundreds of toys to neighborhood children in partnership with the Marine Corps Toys for Tots Program. This is an annual program for Colton, and toys can be donated at the Assemblyman’s office at 155 Kings Highway up until December 23.

Nonperishable donations

For food donations, all 53 New York City Apple Bank branches, in conjunction with the annual Daily News Food Drive, are accepting donations of nonperishable food times through January 13, giving you almost two months to make time to go by. Check out their website for more details.

In Bensonhurst, Apple Bank has two locations at 6701 18th Avenue and 1973 86th Street.

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