Five Local Charities That Need Your Help
Here's how to spend International Day of Charity, or any day, helping others in the Hudson Valley
Monday isn't merely Labor Day, but it's also International Day of Charity. So while relaxing at the end of your three-day weekend, consider helping out these amazing local nonprofits. Donations are openly welcomed, but money only goes so far, so consider volunteering your time and active involvement as well.
Food Bank of the Hudson Valley, Cornwall-on-Hudson
What it Does: A branch of the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, this nonprofit strives to alleviate regional hunger and prevent the waste of still-edible, wholesome food. It works largely in partnership with large-scale food suppliers to collect unmarketable, yet unspoiled, products, and distributes them to 400-plus member outreach agencies and programs across Orange, Ulster, Dutchess, Rockland, Sullivan, and Putnam counties.
How to Help: Whether you’re in the midst of cleaning out your pantry or ready to hit the warehouse floor, there are many ways to get involved. If you’re looking to donate, the food bank accepts shelf-stable, fresh, and frozen foods, as well as non-food household items like paper goods, personal-hygiene products, and cleaning supplies. Donations can be dropped off directly at the food bank, or pick-ups can be arranged for your convenience. You can also host a food drive within your office, social/religious group or community, and monetary donations are always welcome. Want to take your generosity one step further? Volunteers are needed on-site to help sort food products and home supplies, and pull out damaged or unusable items.
Mental Health America of Dutchess County, Poughkeepsie
What it Does: With a range of care-management, recovery programs, education, and advocacy initiatives, MHADC is dedicated to providing compassionate care and dignity to the region’s mentally ill.
How to Help: Donations are used to help fund many of the organization’s efforts, but MHADC also offers the chance to befriend local individuals suffering from various degrees of mental illness through its Compeer program. Offer support by helping ease common feelings of isolation and loneliness, and potentially meet a lifelong friend.
Photo courtesy of AnimalKind
What it Does: Supporting the welfare, protection, rescue, and rights of our local domestic and feral animal population, this is much more than just a shelter. Yes, you can adopt here (for free), but Animalkind also offers low-cost veterinary services, help for stray animals or those that have faced abandonment and abuse, and a food bank for families living in poverty with pets.
How to Help: Volunteer help is always needed on-site, with duties spanning a wide range of talents, hours, and capabilities. Whether you’re looking to spend some time playing and providing basic care for a couple kitties, or can offer advertising assistance and guidance, your time is invaluable. Take your puppy love to the next level and foster a sick, injured, pregnant, or young animal to help ready them for a forever home. You can even provide a donation, either in cash or cleaning supplies.
Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie, Poughkeepsie
What it Does: Providing help, education, counseling, and financial resources to children who have experienced neglect, abuse, or disruption of parental relationships, the Children’s Home strives to create a nurturing environment for child development.
How to Help: Here, your largest task as a volunteer is being a friend. Spend the day interacting with children by planting a garden, reading stories, or tossing around a soccer ball. Help these children move forward and flourish by simply providing your mentorship, guidance, and a smile. Your donations will also go a long way, helping support fun children’s activities, specialized family services, hope, and healing.
Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Beacon
What it Does: With a mission to preserve the river that connects our counties, this environmentally conscious nonprofit has championed numerous educational programs, advocacy, and change through legislation like the Clean Water Act to create a standard for our polluted waters. You may have also heard of the organization's annual Clearwater Festival, hosting more than 15,000 people each June for a weekend of music and environmental activism.
How to Help: Mid-April through October, you can join a week-long sailing excursion aboard the Clearwater or the Mysitc Whaler. Teach educational programs, or help with daily chores, fishing, and PR work. Even sail the boat if you’re qualified. Youth volunteers are also welcome as part of an empowerment program for environmental training.