Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years- the most anticipated holidays of the year. All three days spent with loved ones, reminiscing on old times while making new memories at the same time. For some, the holiday season represents a warm feeling, appreciating what you have while pining for what you could have. For some the holidays are a highlight to the end of yet another year. For others this joyous season can be filled with hardship and disappointment. Sometimes it’s easy to become consumed with your own happenings and forget about the world around you. That being said, the noblest thing a person can do is selflessly help others. Regardless of your political beliefs, religious views, social standings, it is everyone’s job to reach out a helping hand to those in need. Compassion is at the core of our humanity. As Former President Ronald Reagan once said, “we can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.”
During this holiday season countless agencies across the Hudson Valley have programs that aid in identifying those in need. these agencies provide ways for the community to band together and help. People can donate food, clothes, “adopt” a child or family- to provide holiday gifts for, and if you are limited with what you can spare you can even just donate your time. There are numerous organizations that are looking for volunteers to help with carrying out their goals during this time of year. The Salvation Army and churches are not the only entities that provide these services either.
Toys for Tots is a staple in the Christmas giving community. Run by the Marine Corps and assisted by volunteers, this organization accepts used and new toys as well as monetary donations. In 2018, over 50,000 toys were given out to around 36,000 children. The organization has numerous drop off sites across the Hudson Valley. If you are interested in donating toys to Dutchess, Rockland, Sullivan, or Orange County, please visit the website for the Hudson Valley Campaign. If you are interested in donation to Putnam or Westchester County please visit the Putnam Northern Westchester County Campaign site to view locations accepting toys.
The Hudson Valley also has a program dedicated to serving children through the Christmas Wish Program. This program allows children, of Hudson Valley residents, going through extreme hardship to submit a wish request. This year’s program will be the 7th year it has been able to grant hundreds of children in the area their wishes. In order to submit a valid request the child must be a Hudson Valley resident and 19 years or younger.
If you would like to donate money, Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange, Sullivan & Ulster is trying to reach their goal of $300,000 this year. This money buys more than 4,000 people in the area sweaters, hats, blankets, coats and much more for this holiday season. This St. Nicholas Project asks for monetary donations no matter how small.
All of the agencies listed above are just examples of the countless organizations in our area that are willing to accept your donations and also your time. Programs like these during the holidays really make the difference for those that are in need and those that have a little extra to give.