It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also among the most hectic. It seems like before you can clear the dishes from the table after Thanksgiving, the holiday shopping season is off to the races, kicked off by a series of unofficial holidays aimed at ramping up consumption: Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. We love a good deal as much as the next guy, but amid the frenzy of bargains and great finds, it can be easy to lose sight of the true meaning of the season: giving.
Enter Giving Tuesday. The movement started in 2012 as an attempt to give charities and nonprofits a lift during the holidays. On the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, December 3rd, people around the world will be donating their time, money, and voice to organizations doing important work in our communities. Here are some of our favorite local charities that help make our neighborhoods vibrant and strong. Join the movement!
It’s no secret that Greenwich Village is steeped in rich cultural history. It seems that every corner and park bench holds a story, from the artists and writers who got lost in discussion in the dark pubs to the activists who rallied in Washington Square Park to change the course of history. The Village Trip is a celebration of this deep cultural and “all things Greenwich Village: the revolutionary ideas, the experimentation, the wildness, the sheer madness and joy of it all.” The annual Village Trip Festival gathers artists, musicians, and people from all walks of life with affinity for The Village, ensuring the neighborhood remains a place for imagination and artistic invention.
With all the excess of the holidays, it’s hard to imagine the plight of a child going hungry. And yet, in America, one in five children do. It’s a startling fact, and it’s the driving force behind Share Our Strength, a charity working to completely eradicate childhood hunger. It may seem like a lofty goal, but how could we settle for anything less? Through their No Kid Hungry initiative, they’ve fed 775 million meals to hungry children. Through their Cooking Matters program, Share Our Strength has taught 464,000 families how to shop for and prepare healthy food on a tight budget – a practical and straightforward way to ensure children get the nutritious meals they need to grow and learn.
The Food Bank for New York City
You’ve probably heard of the Food Bank. It’s the single largest hunger-relief organization in New York City, and for 35 years, they’ve tackled the problem of hunger head-on through several multipronged approaches. The goal is to end hunger, and they plan on doing it by “organizing food, information, and support for community survival, empowerment, and dignity.” Not only does the Food Bank distribute food across the city, they also help low income residents attain SNAP benefits, educate people on how to cook nutritiously, and advocate for change.
Can you imagine a generation completely without AIDS? DIFFA can. It’s that vision that guides the grassroots organization, which focuses on “mobilizing the vast resources of the design industry” to fund initiatives that combat not only the spread of AIDS itself, but also the misinformation and discrimination surrounding the issue. Get involved and perhaps one day, we’ll see their vision made into a reality.
Here’s a startling fact: According to Autism Speaks, “Autism is more prevalent than childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes, and pediatric AIDS combined.” In fact, it’s the most rapidly growing serious developmental disability in the country, which means you probably know someone who has been affected by neurologically based disability. Brooklyn Autism Center provides a range of services and programs to families affected by Autism, from helping with life skills to teaching those with Autism how to use technology. It’s a top-notch organization that offers help for families who need it.
In many ways, home ownership is at the center of the American dream. And yet for some people, especially those living with a developmental disability, the prospect of owning a home feels out of reach. That’s where HOPE comes in. With a range of housing programs, including independent living, 24-hour residential care, or college-to-career homes, HOPE is helping people with developmental disabilities achieve their living goals, one home at a time.
Walking through the Village, you may be struck by the ornate, historic architecture permeating the neighborhood. The fact that these buildings have been preserved so carefully is no mistake; the GVSHP works hard to ensure the heritage and defining sense of place that makes the Village what it is. We’re grateful for their efforts, and hope that future generations will be able to enjoy the same local charm and character we’ve grown so accustomed to.