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New York is a city that cares, which means there are several charities and other organizations throughout the city that are designed to help people and animals in a variety of ways. If you are looking for a way to give back this holiday season – or throughout the entire year – here are a few organizations that you might want to consider.

BARC

The Brooklyn Animal Rescue Coalition (BARC) offers volunteer opportunities for both dog and cat lovers. Dog lovers can take dogs for walks, while cat lovers can volunteer in the cat loft to help with socializing the cats.

Citymeals on Wheels

Citymeals on Wheels provides elderly and homebound New Yorkers with meals and companionship. In addition to delivering meals, you can also volunteer to chat with the seniors, write letters or participate in other activities throughout the year.

GrowNYC

GrowNYC works toward improving recycling in apartment buildings, establishing community gardens in needy neighborhoods and completing other eco-friendly tasks. The organization, which also helps to fund the city’s greenmarkets, is always in need of volunteers and donations.

Housing Works

Established in 1990 by veterans of ACT UP, Housing Works helps homeless people in New York who are living with HIV or AIDS. To support this cause, you can donate clothes, books, furniture and other items to the organization, which will then sell the items through one of its many thrift shops throughout the city. 100 percent of the proceeds from the items sold in the shops goes toward achieving the organization’s mission.

Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs

Volunteers at the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs work with the city’s immigrant communities in a variety of ways, including helping them sign-up for IDNYC cards or assisting with translation services.

New York Cares Coat Drive

The New York Cares coat drive accepts gently used and clean coats to distribute to those in need. Coats can be dropped off at one of many different drop-off locations throughout the five boroughs.

New York City Parks Department

The New York City Parks Department relies heavily on volunteers to help keep the city’s vast parks system looking beautiful. Volunteer opportunities are available in all five boroughs.

SAGE

SAGE assists senior members of the LGBT community through a variety of programs. Among these is Friendly Visiting, which involves spending time in person or over the phone with those who may not have a support system in place.

University Settlement

University Settlement provides integrated services to assist the entire family, with services ranging from early childhood education to mental health services and adult literacy programs.

In addition to volunteer with or donating to these organizations, there are many other ways that you can get involved in your community if you so desire. For example, you can join your local Community Board, start a block association or simply check in on your neighbors. You can learn more about how to start a block association with the help of tips provided by the Citizens Committee for New York City.

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