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Where in Westchester to Give Back on #GivingTuesday

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In a year Westchester County needs it most, here are seven ways to give back to the community today and throughout the holiday season.

You may have seen the hashtag/activism movement #GivingTuesday start popping up on your newsfeed already this year, encouraging you to give back to your community on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Joining the grassroots campaign gives organizations the opportunity to harness the power of social media to make their missions known on a day where people can join in collectively.

We’ve rounded up a few local ways you can get involved this year, ranging from straight donations of your time and money to more kid-friendly options like writing letters to Santa. (Yes, that can count as volunteering!) Keep in mind: There’s always plenty to do in your local community, but we figured these would be a few great places to start.

Croton Caring Committee

Hot off raising $2,000 in its annual food drive and another $2,000 for the Croton business community, the local organization has teamed up with the recently formed Croton Business Council to fundraise with some new “Croton Strong” t-shirts. Garments are available at local businesses like 140 Grand, The Black Cow Coffee Co., Croton Tapsmith, and The Green Growler for $20 (kids sizes also available).

Croton Business Council

Feeding Westchester

The organization packages a ton of food on a regular basis by sourcing and distributing food and resources to towns across Westchester with the help of nearly 300 non-profit partner programs. In a year when so many more people are out of work and needing assistance, there’s never been a more important time to help, and Feeding Westchester is offering multiple ways to do so.

Bank of America will be matching every donation made in an effort to raise 300,000 meals for local residents. The rest of the month, you can also donate to the annual Hunger Hero Pack virtual challenge. Even if you’re not able to financially donate this year, you can still help out by building “Help From Home” holiday bags and dropping them off at Feeding Westchester’s Elmsford location’s drop-off bins.

Giving Tuesday Holiday Spectacular

The Jefferson Valley Mall in Yorktown Heights is hosting special events all day with participating retailers and community groups. Some stores offer discounts and deals (making it easier to purchase items for donation) while others direct proceeds to charities like the Lakeland Education Fund, Alliance for Safe Kids, Support Connection, Yorktown for Excellence, and Toys for Tots (benefiting the St. Mary’s Food Pantry). Speaking of Toys for Tots, donate a toy tonight and receive free cookies and an ornament for your family.

Pro Tip: Don’t just think young kids. Teenagers need presents, too!

Make-A-Wish

Giving for a good cause is written all over this opportunity. For each letter to Santa Macy’s receives, the company doubles its customary donation this year to $2 (up to $2 million) to the organization, which grants wishes to children with critical illnesses. Letters can be dropped off at Westchester Macy’s locations at the Jefferson Valley Mall in Yorktown, the Galleria in White Plains, and the Cross County Shopping Center in Yonkers.

Ronald McDonald House of the Greater Hudson Valley

Adjacent to Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, Ronald McDonald House provides a place to stay for families of children receiving care at MFCH. This year, all donations made on Giving Tuesday will be matched dollar-for-dollar by local sponsor Sterilemed in Tarrytown and McDonald’s founder Bryan Colley.

Volunteer New York!

This organization uses Giving Tuesday to call community leaders to action by making donations that go toward preserving and advancing local volunteerism. There are also tons of volunteering opportunities for Westchester residents all season long, but today there’s a special push for monetary donations to help the organization continue to expand its work in Westchester and Rockland Counties.

Your Local Soup Kitchen

While we’re on the subject, nearly every community in Westchester has volunteer emergency food services you can contribute to, either with your time, supplies, or just the monetary means to keep their mission going. Lifting Up Westchester in White Plains, for example, opens Grace’s Kitchen to the community every weekday from 9 a.m. to noon and is always in need of cash and food donations, as well as volunteers, especially around the holidays. Check in your community to see if there’s a local organization you can help out on #GivingTuesday for the holidays or all year long.