By Jamie Gesell
With the holidays around the corner, it means a well-deserved break for college students. Many of us are fortunate to spend time with our families and eat lots of holiday treats. But this is also the season to be aware that others may be struggling, so this is a chance to think about ways to give back to help our local communities. There are numerous volunteer projects students can participate in that are very rewarding.
“Long Island has many volunteering opportunities like creating small care packages, beach clean ups and dog toy making,” said junior psychology major Gabriel Silva. “I love volunteering because there are endless opportunities for you to make a difference in our community. No matter how big or small the project is, you have made a difference.”
Take a look at some of the volunteering events that you can participate in during the holiday break.
Interested in a food drive? Try joining the Island Harvest Food Drive here at Adelphi. This drive, lasting until November 30, is hosted by the Bridges to Adelphi program. It focuses on fighting hunger and ensuring food security. They are collecting canned or nonperishable food to be donated to the Island Harvest food bank in Melville.
Charlie Simon, a first-year Bridges member who is helping with this collection, said they’re contributing “by delivering food to all communities that are starving.” He added they expect to collect about 40 pounds of food.
For donations and inquiries about volunteering, you can visit their offices in the lower level of Earle Hall. Also, you can view it on the CORQ app.
Another food bank to help out at is Long Island Cares located in Hauppauge. According to their mission statement on their website, “Our goals are to improve food security for families, sponsor programs that help families achieve self-sufficiency, and educate the general public about the causes and consequences of hunger on Long Island.” With 40 years of experience, they have handed out over 300,000 meals to people in Long Island. To sign up as a volunteer for a specific time, visit https://www.licares.org/how-to-help/volunteer/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Rather hand out food than collect it? Then volunteer for Community Solidarity in Hempstead. They help package food into boxes and pack it into underserved individuals' cars in the town.
“What started as a few bags of bread became a few cars of food, then a few dozen carloads,” said founder Jon Stepanian.
It happens every Sunday at 2 pm in a parking lot at the intersection of Cooper Square North and Washington Street. All you have to do is show up to volunteer. For more information, visit https://communitysolidarity.org/foodshares/hempstead#volunteer.
Want to get your feet wet for volunteering to help the environment? Then join Operation Splash in Freeport. They help pick up trash and debris in the waterways and beaches of Long Island. Their motto is to “Think Globally, Act Locally.” To see their boat schedule and time slots, visit https://www.operationsplash.com/boat-schedule/
For anyone who likes to work with clothes, try volunteering at Angels of Long Island in Patchogue. “Our goal is to empower people to overcome poverty and live prosperous lives. We aggressively provide a wide range of services and goods to people in crisis,” they say on their website. You can volunteer at one of their thrift stores and help out by giving out clothes. You could also donate clothing in their drop boxes too. For more information, visit https://www.angelsoflongisland.com/.
We hope this has informed you of the many volunteering opportunities happening around Long Island. It’s always good to spend your free time giving back to the community. The holiday break is definitely a chance to take advantage of that. For even more volunteering opportunities not listed here, visit https://longislandvolunteercenter.org/#/.