Interested in giving back to our fantastic community this winter? We’ve compiled a list of local charities and how we can all help them, starting today. Happy giving!
Greenwich United Way
How to Help: Donate money to their Direct Impact Programs
The Greenwich United Way develops dynamic programs that benefit the lives of all Greenwich residents. Their Direct Impact Programs directly impact the community with services relating to Early Childhood Achievement Gap Solutions,Youth Impact Programming and Human Services Technology Solutions. “Direct Impact is another example of how since 1933 the Greenwich United Way has been Finding, Funding and Fixing the health, education and self-sufficiency needs of Greenwich,” says CEO David Rabin. Learn more about their Direct Impact Wish List here and about Greenwich United Way at greenwichunitedway.org.
Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital
How to Help: Donate gifts
After battling brain cancer when he was just 8 years old, Luke McQuillan has spent the past two holiday seasons collecting gifts for other young patients at Yale New Haven’s Children’s Hospital. Luke spent the majority of two years in and out of hospitals for emergency brain surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. He has been cancer-free for over 5 years now and wants to make the treatment process easier for other kids. Two years ago, he started “Luke McQuillan’s Holiday Gift Drive for Tweens & Teens at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital.” As he describes it, by providing a gift for these kids, you can lift their spirits and help them forget what they’re dealing. Luke focuses on the 10-18 year old age group as the hospital has communicated the need (they receive a wonderful abundance of toys for little children but very little for the older age group). Gift bins are located in the foyer of St Catherine of Siena Church in Riverside, at Kings Market in Old Greenwich and at the McQuillan’s home in Riverside. Please call or email Meg McQuillan for more information at 917-439-4433 or email@example.com. Gifts will be collected through Sunday, December 14, 2019.
How to Help: Buy a tree or book, or donate money
When you buy your tree, go to First Congregational Church in Old Greenwich from Nov. 24 to Dec. 8, and a portion of proceeds will go to Family Center’s programming for grieving children and families. Or buy a book for a preschooler and drop it off at their 40 Arch Street headquarters. Finally, donate to their Annual Friends’ Drive (which raises money for health, education and other services for the 21,000 kids and families the charity helps). “While we are fortunate to live in a community full of amazing resources, it’s important to remember that there is great need right here in our backyard. When making your philanthropic choices this holiday season, please consider Family Centers. Our 25 programs impact the lives of so many local children and families. More importantly, your gift will make an impact all year long,” says Family Centers’ Vice President of Development Katrina Dorsey. For more information, go to familycenters.org.
Neighbor to Neighbor
How to Help: Donate toys or gift cards
Give to Neighbor to Neighbor’s annual holiday toy distribution by bringing a new, unwrapped toy to their headquarters at 248 East Putnam before December 11. In-demand gifts include dolls, LEGOs, action figures, sports items and gift cards for newborns to age 16. “This program gives clients the opportunity to come and shop for a new gift for each child in their family. It’s an amazing feeling for us and for them, to see them leave with a bag of new toys,” says Sue Golden, a Neighbor volunteer. For more information, including drop-off hours, email Kristen at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to ntngreenwich.org
Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich
How to Help: Donate money to core programs or attend an event
Cash donations to support the Club’s 330 kids who attend the daily after-school program are always welcome. BGCG programs focus on three identified priorities: Academic Support and Enrichment, Healthy Lifestyles and Character Development.
You can also sip and shop at Splurge on Tuesday, December 3 from 6:00-8:00pm where 10% of unique gifts purchased will be donated to BGCG. For those looking to kick off the holiday season with a fun and delicious event, join the Boys & Girls Club on Saturday, December 7 from 8:00-11:00am at 4 Horseneck Lane for Pancakes with Santa. To make an online donation, visit www.bgcg.org/donate/ or to learn more about our events, click here.
Kids in Crisis
How to Help: Help families shop or cook a meal; donate money, clothes or gift cards; attend a holiday event
This family-focused charity offers a ton of ways to give back this season, during which they give food, new clothing and more to families throughout the area who have utilized their shelter, helpline, outreach and other services. “Kids In Crisis is so happy to help make the holidays a joyous time for these families!” says Shari Shapiro, Executive Director. Opportunities to help include: volunteering to set-up and help families “shop” on December 13 and 14 at “Holiday Central.” You can also donate money or clothes; they particularly need winter coats, accessories and toiletries for teens as well as gift cards (with a focus on stores like Stop & Shop and Old Navy). For a special gift, you can buy a Kids In Crisis Holiday Candle at Splurge or Allure Spa and Salon for $20 from which 100% of the proceeds goes to the organization. Finally, attend the Greenwich Holiday Stroll Kick-Off Party on December 5 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Vineyard Vines (20 percent of sales go to the charity). For more information, go to kidsincrisis.org.
How to help: Donate money
Pathways helps those with severe and chronic mental illness through residency, day and outreach programs. The program is expanding its efforts to meet the needs of those being helped, including a renovation of its day program facility in Cos Cob. Says Pathways Executive Director Laura Heckman: “We are always in need of donations for our on-going budget and this new capital project which should be completed by fall, 2020.” For more information on Pathways, go to pways.org.
How to Help: Attend their event
Stop by the Holiday Sip & Shop at Abilis Gardens & Gifts, on Dec. 4 from 5-8 p.m. at 50 Glenville Street, and enjoy wine, cheese and other refreshments while shopping for 25 percent off the entire store, which provides job training for adults with special needs in the lower Fairfield County community. Holiday gifts available include handcrafted candles and bath products, jewelry, fashion accessories, children’s gifts, plants and more! For more information on Abilis, go to abilis.us.
River House Adult Day Center
How to Help: Volunteer at the River House with their elderly visitors; spend time with your children; make a dessert; attend a breakfast
“Our River House family wouldn’t be complete without volunteers who visit with members, assist with activities, and use their unique skills and talents to provide our members with wonderful new experiences! This holiday season there are many ways to volunteer!” says Katie Zapata, director of development at River House. Here are the many ways she suggests helping this time of year:
- Lead a holiday art project for our members.
- Lead a holiday music program for our members (or a simple “sing along”).
- Bring your children for a visit with our members. Coming for a visit is a wonderful way of reaching out and engaging, whether it’s for one hour or more. Children of all ages are welcome if they are accompanied by an adult.
- Help decorate to make River House festive for the winter holidays! This can be hosted by a group of volunteers or an individual.
- Attend our Rose’ on the River event, scheduled for May 1, 2020 (details soon to be available on our website).
- Create your own volunteer opportunity! Have an idea for an exciting activity? Please contact Stephanie Radman, Volunteer and Events Coordinator, email@example.com or call Stephanie at 203-622-0079 to coordinate. For more info, go to theriverhouse.org.
Meals on Wheels of Greenwich
How to Help: Deliver meals
This local chapter of the national organization delivers meals five days a week throughout town. “Many drivers with young children take them along on their route and our clients are happy to see them. It takes roughly an hour and meals are delivered by 10-11 a.m.,” says Lori Jackson, board member for Meals on Wheels of Greenwich. If someone is interested in volunteering they can call and speak to the Director Lynne Stewart 203 869-1312 or go to mealsonwheelsofgreenwich.org.
Do you have a favorite local charity that we missed? Please add it in the comments section!