6 Ways to Give Back This Holiday Season in New York City

Shantila Lee | November 12, 2020 | Lifestyle

These NYC-based nonprofits organizations help the homeless, feed the hungry and are powering on through the pandemic.

Greater Food Bank NYCFood Bank for New York City housed a pop-up food pantry at Lincoln Center during Hunger Action Month in September.

1. Ali Forney Center

Named after the homeless gender-nonconforming youth who was murdered in Harlem in 1997, the AFC is the nation’s largest homeless shelter for LGBTQ+ youths. The drop-in center and a street outreach program provide housing, food, clothes and health services, especially necessary during the pandemic, for which the center has launched an awareness campaign.

2. Black Lives Matter of Greater New York

Leading protests to empower Black communities in NYC with a focus on criminal justice reform, public safety, Black Liberation and equal access, BLM Greater NY works at the grassroots level to bring on change. The organization also runs COVID-19 outreach efforts such as the People’s Food Program, performing wellness checks and delivering groceries and medication to elders in the Bronx.

3. The Bowery Mission

Founded in 1879 on New York’s original skid row, The Bowery Mission is a faith- based organization that aims to help people caught in the cycle of poverty and homelessness. The organization provides meals, medical services and access to showers. The venerable aid mission has long been a presence in downtown NYC; its iconic red doors have remained open to the homeless and hungry during the pandemic.

4. Food Bank for New York City

For 36 years Food Bank for NYC has been the city’s largest hunger relief organization, with a multifaceted approach that provides free meals, builds capacity and raises awareness. Since mid-March—while 40% of other food banks halted services over the coronavirus lockdown—Food Bank kept going and has distributed almost 50 million meals via drive-thru pantries, seniors-only hours and home deliveries.

5. Healthy Kids First

Established by chef Ayesha Renee Gordon, Healthy Kids First educates families on a healthier approach to food. Nutrient-loaded recipes are taught in interactive cooking tutorial events. The Take-A-Bite sister mission is dedicated to filling the food gap for children who depend on school lunches and distributing free meals to children in underprivileged NYC neighborhoods.

6. Urban Pathways

Urban Pathways has helped homeless New Yorkers who live with mental illness or substance abuse disorders. The outreach program helps move homeless individuals into permanent supportive-housing programs in 14 residential buildings throughout the city. Efforts to maintain the residences over the outbreak are in full swing, including supplying masks and sanitizer.

Photography by: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City