Lend a Helping Hand to These Westchester Charities

Here’s how to spend International Day of Charity, or any day, supporting others in our county

It’s important to enjoy yourself on Labor Day, but it’s equally important to acknowledge that there are people here in our county who are struggling. And since Monday happens to also be the UN’s International Day of Charity, we recommend taking a moment amid holiday-weekend indulgence to support these local organizations in whatever way you can.


Hope’s Door, Pleasantville

What They Do: Hope’s Door has one mission: to empower the victims of domestic violence to find independence and healing. They originated as crisis hotline The Northern Westchester Shelter in 1980, helping domestic-abuse survivors find safety. Now, they’ve extended their support to include  emergency shelters, counseling, support groups, and legal advice.

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How You Can Help: Hope’s Door is mainly looking for people who can be available to assist mothers with childcare, accompany victims to court, or assist with safety planning. All necessary training is provided; all that is needed, says Executive Director Carlla Horton, is someone willing to “hold someone’s hand and tell them they re not alone.”

Photo courtesy of Hope Works

Youth in the Students Terminating Abusive Relationships (STAR) peer-leadership program speak with the media to raise awareness about dating abuse. 


Hillside Food Outreach, Pleasantville

What They Do: Kathleen Purdy, Hillside’s Executive Director, started this organization in 1993 in honor of her late grandmother, who Purdy found “was sharing her food and supplies with neighbors who couldn’t make ends meet.” Since that time, the organization has expanded dramatically, delivering food to 2,100 housebound or low-income individuals every month. “”Many times these people are elderly, frail, or disabled young moms with no transportation and have no other resource in obtaining food that they need,” explains Purdy. Their volunteers tend to form close relationships with the families they deliver to, making sure to accommodate any specific dietary needs as well as simply being a familiar face and source of support.

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How You Can Help: The most effective way to lend a hand to Hillside would be to volunteer your time. You don’t have to take on a whole host of families. Even just signing up to deliver groceries to one in need would help greatly. Alternatively, you can “adopt” a family for $45 a month that goes toward groceries, or volunteer with your children for their monthly “Packing Nights,” where kids get together and pack the grocery bags that get delivered. Of course, any regular monetary donations are gladly accepted.


Friends of Karen, North Salem

What They Do: Friends of Karen extends their support far beyond their home in Westchester, to New York City, New Jersey, and Connecticut, in hopes of comforting families with children diagnosed with cancer or other life-threatening illnesses. With several programs people can volunteer or donate for, from buying children birthday gifts to helping families pay rent with the help of a social worker, Friends of Karen provides a wide scope of support.

How You Can Help: For Friends of Karen, donating you money is the biggest way to help them provide more than 800 birthday gifts per month, social work for over 670 families, and the thousands of dollars of support in paying bills. Alternatively, you can donate school supplies for their Back-to-School program, or volunteer your time by helping wrap gifts, provide homework support, helping at events, or even writing for one of their publications.


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Trip of a Lifetime, Scarsdale

What They Do: If you’ve been lucky enough to have traveled around the world and see different cultures, then you know how important that can be to one’s personal evolution. Trip of a Lifetime hopes to extend that opportunity to students who can’t afford it. Since being formed in 2008 by Scarsdale resident Stan Rosenberg, the organization has raised more than $600,000 and sent 60 students on various journeys.

How You Can Help: Trip of a Lifetime offers student internships to help the organization function. Interns are responsible for mailing press letters, scheduling social media posts, event planning, and managing databases. Even cooler, you can shop online with GoodShop and have some of the proceeds go to their cause. Of course, various volunteer opportunities are available depending on your specialty, and donations are gladly accepted.


Corporate Angel Network, White Plains

What They Do: In an effort to ease the worries of cancer patients, as well as bone marrow donors and recipients, Corporate Angel Network (CAN) arranges free flights to and from treatment centers by using empty seats on corporate jet aircrafts and business flights. Based in White Plains’ Westchester County Airport, CAN has flown more than 50,000 patients since 1981, having enlisted the help of participating corporations, many of which are among the top 100 in the Fortune 500 list.

How You Can Help: According to Executive Director Gina Russo, the most pressing need is corporations willing to participate in providing free seats. “More seats means more treatments and more patients being helped,” she says. Then, any help in increasing awareness (be it word of mouth, posts on social media, etc.) for their cause would be greatly appreciated. And finally, CAN would not be able to function without support from the local community who volunteer their skills, from scheduling flights to generating press coverage and printing ads.

Our Best of Westchester Party is July 24!

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