It’s official - the holiday season is upon us. The last of the turkey leftovers are long gone, you’ve crossed off those Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping lists, perhaps even and hung decorations. What better time to reflect on what is really important this holiday season and spread some holiday cheer by giving back to the Huntington community? By helping our neighbors, many of whom are still struggling in this difficult economy, we help ourselves and, in turn, our entire community. If you’re looking for ways to lend a hand, but aren’t sure where to start, here are a few options in our local area where you can pitch in. If you wish to add to this list, please feel free to share in the comments section below.
Toys for Tots, a 63 year national charitable program run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, provides happiness and hope to disadvantaged children during each Christmas holiday season. The toys, books and other gifts collected and distributed by the Marines offer these children recognition, confidence and a positive memory for a lifetime. Last year the Marine Corps fulfilled the holiday hopes and dreams of 7.4 million less fortunate children. Since 1947, over 195 million children have been assisted. For more information, visit www.toysfortots.org
The Project T.O.Y. is a very special program where, with your help, parents who are struggling financially receive the opportunity to “shop” (at no cost) for holiday gifts at one of FSL’s Family Centers and have the pleasure of presenting these gifts to their children on their special holiday. Donations of new, unwrapped toys, gifts and or gift certificates,for preschoolers to teenagers can be dropped off at the Olsten Family Center, 790 Park Avenue in Huntington, by December 15th. They will be open to Parents for “shopping” the following week. For more information call (631) 425.9694.
The Helping Hand Rescue Mission has two upcoming events where help is needed. Dec. 8-10 is the annual Christmans Benefit Boutique Fundraiser Sale. Volunteers are needed prior to the sale to set up as well as during the event to restock merchandise and assist customers. The public is invited to take advantage of great bargains, while helping the Mission earn money for our ongoing programs. The following weekend, on Dec. 17 at 2 p.m., the Mission will be holding their annual Children's Christmas Party. Volunteers are needed to set up, hand out gifts, and clean up. The party will be held at Jack Abrams Intermediate School in Huntington Station. Please call Kim at the Mission at 631-351-6996 for more information.
Food Pantry is very active and always in need of donations. Many hungry people in our community rely on this food each week. Please drop off a non-perishable food item or two (or three!) at the temple located at 660 Park Avenue in Huntington, and help our less fortunate friends and neighbors.
The Friends of Huntington Station Latin Quarter is once again conducting a toy drive to help families in need of gifts for the holiday season. In 2010, Friends of HSLQ donated over 250 gifts to more than thirty families. Children received toys, books, board games, clothing and most importantly love and thoughtfulness from many members of the Huntington Station community. This event is very special to HSLQ because sometimes, these gifts are the only ones these children will receive for the holidays. Please visit http://hslq.org/ for more information.
Long Island Food Not Bombs is once again looking for toys (all ages, new and used), warm clothing, sleeping bags, pants, shirts, gloves, boots, sweaters, leggings, blankets, hats, socks, and anything else you deem appropriate. To help, please call (631) 223.4370. They will pick anything up from your house or office at your convenience. You’re also more than welcome to drop toys and clothing off at their food shares - Huntington’s is held at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays at E. 6th St. & Fairground Avenue in Huntington. Items can also be dropped off at Urban Coffee in Greenlawn.
Please feel free to share how and where you'll be giving back this holiday season in the comments section below.