The month of November often conjures images of falling leaves, jackets and scarves, turkey, stuffing and all of the other fixings that come with Thanksgiving dinner.
But for many in the city, Thanksgiving is another reminder of what they don’t have.
There are an estimated 1.4 million people in the city who rely on emergency food programs, like soup kitchens, to get by each year, according to the Food Bank of New York. Of those, about 339,000 are children.
There is no shortage of options when it comes to giving back to your community this holiday season. Food banks, soup kitchens and nonprofits in all five boroughs are accepting donations to feed the hungry.
Here’s a list of places to get you started.
Located at 227 Bowery, the mission accepts food donations between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday. The Bowery Mission serves more than 1,000 meals each day to low-income and homeless New Yorkers. In 2016, the organization also handed out 44,700 bags of groceries to those in need. The mission suggests donations that are nonperishable, but it can accept fresh prepared foods so long as the packaging hasn’t been tampered with.
Bring canned food donations to any of Camba’s five Brooklyn locations to help stock the organization’s emergency food pantry, which feeds 4,300 Brooklynites a month. Donations such as canned tuna, salmon and chicken, beans, peanut butter, cereal and pasta can be dropped off on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. For a full list of locations, visit, https://www.camba.org/support/whereyoucanfooddrive.
This supermarket-style food pantry is looking for donations of items like low sodium beef stew, dried beans, canned fruit, brown rice and low-sugar cereal. Donations can be dropped off at Hour Children’s main office, located at 36-11 12th St. in Long Island City, on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Over the past year, the pantry has fed more than 9,000 people in the community.
Be part of the solution by bringing fresh, frozen or canned items to this food pantry, located at 2759 Webster Ave. in Fordham Manor, on weekdays between 12:30 and 3:45 p.m. Part of the Solution is a community-based organization that provides Bronx residents with an array of services, from its food pantry and community dining room, to shower facilities, legal assistance and career development.
For 30 years, Project Hospitality has been there to provide struggling Staten Island residents with the support they need, including a food pantry for the hungry. Donations can be dropped off at 514 Bay St. in Stapleton on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. The pantry accepts all kinds of nonperishable donations, including coffee, tea, cereal, rice and pasta.
Keep health and nutrition in mind before donating to this organization. The West Side Campaign Against Hunger’s pantry does not stock high-salt or high-sugar foods, like canned soups or macaroni and cheese. Suggested donations include brown rice, low-sodium crackers, whole grain pasta and canned fruit with no sugar added. Items can be dropped off at 263 West 86th St. on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Arrange to have your food donations picked up by this organization’s “Food Rescue” partners. The food that is donated is either used for Common Pantry’s Hot Meals program or placed in its Choice Pantry, which provides bags of groceries to about 2,000 families every week. Drivers are available to pick up donations daily between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. Fill out an online form to schedule your donation pickup.
City Harvest plans to provide over 10,500 turkeys to New Yorkers in need this Thanksgiving. The organization distributes the turkeys to soup kitchens, food pantries and other community programs throughout the city, but also suggests several ways New Yorkers can do their part to help, too, including a donation of nonperishable canned items to the “Canstruction” event at Brookfield Place or buying a bag of produce at Union Square Greenmarket and giving it to City Harvest’s on-site helpers. City Harvest has also teamed up with the New York Daily News for its annual food drive. Donations can be dropped off at City Harvest’s midtown office, located at 6 E. 32nd St., or at any FDNY or NYPD station, as well as select Apple Bank and Goodwill locations through Jan. 19. For a full list of locations, visit https://www.cityharvest.org/dailynews/.
While you can’t donate food items directly to the organization as an individual, an interactive map on Food Bank of New York’s website will tell you where the nearest pantries and soup kitchens are based on your location: https://www.foodbanknyc.org/get-help/.