Archive for the tag 'charity'

A traditional mishloah manot care package for the Jewish holiday of Purim. Source: nweiss81/ Flickr

A traditional mishloah manot care package for the Jewish holiday of Purim. Source: nweiss81/ Flickr

The following is a press release from the UJA-Federation:

UJA-Federation of New York’s fourth annual “Pack It Up For Purim” food drive runs now through March 16, 2014, and aims to provide more than 3,000 food packages to hungry New Yorkers. Food will be collected at JASA Brighton/Manhattan Beach Senior Center, 60 West End Avenue in Brooklyn; JASA Senior Alliance Senior Center, 161 Corbin Place in Brooklyn; Kings Bay YM-YWHA, 3495 Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn; and Shorefront YM-YWHA of Brighton-Manhattan Beach, 3300 Coney Island Ave in Brooklyn.

Drop-off times for JASA Senior Centers are Mondays through Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Drop-off times for Kings Bay YM-YWHA and Shorefront YM-YWHA of Brighton-Manhattan Beach are Mondays through Thursdays from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Fridays from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Sundays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The initiative follows one Purim tradition of offering mishloach manot, or charitable food baskets, to friends, neighbors, and those in need. Fanning out over New York City, Long Island, and Westchester, over 40 UJA-Federation beneficiary agencies, synagogues, day schools, and other organizations are collecting food donations and many are organizing food-packing projects to help inspire community-building and charitable giving.

“Approximately 2.6 million New Yorkers – or nearly one in four – have difficulty affording food for themselves and their families and we need to come together to help feed our neighbors,” says Susan Kohn, executive director of the Volunteer Leadership Development Department at UJA-Federation of New York. “In the spirit of Purim, we are so grateful to our food collection sites and encourage all New Yorkers to come out and help members of our community who are just trying to feed their families.”

“Our goal for last year was to deliver over 2,000 food packages, and this year we raised that goal to 3,000 to further alleviate pressure on food distribution sites and increase the number of families we can serve,” said Kohn.

Each Pack It Up for Purim food package will contain nutritious, nonperishable items such as whole-grain cereal or oatmeal, canned vegetables, canned tuna, pasta, beans, granola bars, and peanut butter.

The festival of Purim, celebrated annually by Jews around the world, commemorates a time when the Jewish people living in Persia were saved from extermination.

For more information on how to volunteer and to find a list of the food collection sites, please visit www.ujafedny.org/purim. For information about these “Pack It Up For Purim” food collection sites, please contact:

  • JASA Brighton/Manhattan Beach Senior Center, Anna Bella: (718) 646-1118 / abella@jasa.org
  • JASA Senior Alliance Senior Center, Sheila Galvez: (718) 646-4100 / sgalvez@jasa.org
  • Kings Bay YM-YWHA, Laura Mezhiborsky: (718) 648-7703 ext. 227 / lora@kingsbayy.org
  • Shorefront YM-YWHA of Brighton-Manhattan Beach, Ariella Angert: (718) 646-1444 ext. 332 / Ariella@shorefronty.org

One of Fidler’s elves at last year’s toy drive.

Councilman Lewis Fidler’s Democratic Club, the 41st Assembly District Democrats, is putting out the final call for toys as the grand finale party nears on Thursday.

Now in its 13th year, the annual toy drive has grown to become the largest Toys for Tots drive in New York City for seven years running. Last year, they collected more than 9,000 toys, a record they hope to beat again this year.

Their efforts have been helped by several smaller “feeder” drives, including one done by the Kings Bay Y and another by the Be Proud Foundation (Be Proud’s collection event is today, at 6:00 p.m. at Signature Restaurant [2007 Emmons Avenue]. Those interested in donating can stop by with an unwrapped, unopened toy or a check made out to Be Proud Foundation).

The event culminates with a massive party at the clubhouse at 2952 Avenue R on Thursday, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. It’s a great time for kids, who get to mingle with Mr. Met and Sandy the Seagull, and is capped off with an “elf show” and the loading of toys into the U.S. Marines’ 18-wheeled military cargo truck. Last year’s loading took more than an hour.

If you’d like to make a donation or have questions about the drive, call Bryan at (917) 846-1944.

Vanilla Fudge's Vince Martell. Source: Wikipedia

Vanilla Fudge’s Vince Martell. Source: Wikipedia

The 23rd Annual Bay Improvement Group (BIG) Celebrity Caroling Toy Drive, featuring Vanilla Fudge lead guitarist Vince Martell, Colorado recording artist Peg Pearl, Steam’s Greg Bravo (famed for “Na Na Na Na, Goodbye”) and more will be held this Sunday, December 15 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Baron DeKalb Knights of Columbus, 3000 Emmons Avenue.

Admission is free with your donation of a new unwrapped toy, which will go toward brightening up the Christmas of a less fortunate child.

For more information, call BIG President Steve Barrison at (212) 750-5560 or (718) 646-9206, email bayimprovementgrp@gmail.com or visit BIG on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and on www.bigbayfest.org and www.bayimprovementgroup.org.

No, this is not from today.

The following is an unaltered press release from the offices of Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz:

The thought of paying home heating costs this winter is enough to send a chill through many low-income seniors and families in Brooklyn.

Fortunately, help is on the way thanks to Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn) and the Heartshare Neighborhood Heating Fund (NHF).

Assemblyman Cymbrowitz’ office at 1800 Sheepshead Bay Road is once again an official NHF application receiving site. Applications are available at the office now and his staff will assist constituents in his district in completing them. NHF will begin accepting completed applications on Monday, December 16.

Eligibility is based on household size and gross monthly income. To see if you are eligible and for more information, call Assemblyman Cymbrowitz’ office at (718) 743-4078.

The Neighborhood Heating Fund is run under the auspices of Heartshare Human Services of New York, which receives both grants and private donations. National Grid is a major sponsor of the program.

The NHF program runs until funds are depleted, so constituents are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

“The winter is a particularly difficult time for low-income residents who must struggle to cover their basic needs,” said Assemblyman Cymbrowitz. “I am pleased that the Neighborhood Heating Fund is available to lend a much-needed helping hand.”

Assemblyman Cymbrowitz’ office is open Monday through Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and until 5 p.m. on Fridays.

The Friends of Gerritsen Beach Library is assisting with the Secret Sandy Claus Project, by operating as a toy donation location. The Secret Sandy Claus Project is the brainchild of Gravesend resident Michael “Sandy Claus” Sciaraffo, who decided to don a Santa suit and distribute toys to children who lost their own in Brooklyn, Staten Island, the Rockaways, and parts of New Jersey, in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

If you can, please donate new, unwrapped toys at the Gerritsen Beach Library, 2808 Gerritsen Avenue, from now until December 20. Library hours are Mondays from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Tuesdays from 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Wednesdays through Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The library is closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

Seigel with staff and volunteers during the turkey raffle.

Seigel with staff and volunteers during the turkey raffle.

A CIH community affairs member with a patient during the turkey raffle.

A CIH community affairs member with a patient during the turkey raffle.

Eleven years ago, a doctor at Coney Island Hospital (2601 Ocean Parkway) decided to do more than heal his patients, he wanted to ensure they had full stomachs on Thanksgiving eve. So Dr. Warren Seigel, chairman of the hospital’s pediatrics department and director of adolescent medicine, kicked off an annual tradition of raising money to raffle off turkeys and halal chickens to his patients in need.

Seigel and his team raised enough money this year to distribute 102 turkeys and halal chickens before the holiday. Most of the funds came from employees at the hospital and support from Metroplus.

The tradition began 11 years ago when Seigel was surprised to find that many of his patients would not have a traditional holiday turkey. At first he thought it was a cultural difference – the hospital’s patience cover the gamut of Brooklyn’s diversity – but later learned that many couldn’t afford the holiday fowl.

Seigel, though, didn’t want to simply hold a turkey giveaway for needy patients.

“We were very sensitive to the fact that people don’t want to receive a handout,” he said. So he turned it into an event with movies, face painting and other entertainment for his adolescent patients, and held a free raffle for the turkeys and chickens as part of the event. “So it’s not like we just gave them something; they won something,” he said.

No one left the event empty-handed, he noted, saying that toys and treats were also distributed.

Although the event was born 11 years ago, this was only the 10th time they did it. Superstorm Sandy squashed the plans last year.

“When Sandy hit we had no electricity. We had no way to do this. We couldn’t even pick up the turkeys because there was no gas in our cars. It made us feel bad because it was the time when people needed it the most,” Seigel recalled.

But the return of the tradition, and the enormous amount they managed to distribute this year, signaled a welcome return to normalcy.

“It’s just wonderful. It makes [our patients] feel so wonderful and it reminds all of us how lucky we are,” Seigel said.

Some of the many donations to the civic’s 2010 food drive.

The Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association brought home another successful food drive on Thursday, collecting approximately 20 turkeys, several food gift cards, and more than 1,000 cans and packages for distribution to needy families in the community.

The group brought the food to the Our Lady of Refuge Church food pantry at Ocean Avenue and Foster Avenue on Saturday to keep them stocked through the holiday. Dozens of families will have a full stomach thanks to their hard work and generosity.

Much of the food was collected at boxes placed in local businesses, including Michael’s Bakery, JoMart Chocolates, Mini-Mart, Pronto Pizza, Tom’s Cleaners, Henry’s Deli, T&D Bakery, G&S Pork Store, Avenue U Fish Market and Roosevelt Savings Bank. Many of these businesses also made a donation to the effort.

Councilman Lew Fidler and State Senator Marty Golden also made donations during the group’s Thursday meeting, the final collection night.

American National Red Cross building (Source: Wikipedia)

American National Red Cross building (Source: Wikipedia)

The Red Cross, like many prominent charity organizations, promised aid and relief to scores of victims following the events of Superstorm Sandy. Aljazeera America is reporting that the organization has since informed many victims initially told they would receive help that they are now ineligible to access resources because of policy changes instituted by upper management operators.

After Sandy struck last year, the Red Cross raised $308 million for the relief effort, creating their Move-In Assistance Program in the process. The money raised was the highest gathered by any charity organization. The program promised storm victims that their belongings lost in the storm would be replaced and that they would be given $10,000 to find a new place to live. While the Red Cross is claiming that their program has helped nearly 3,000 victims, hundreds have been denied help due to eligibility requirements that were changed following promises made.

Aljazeera America relayed the story of Rosaline Fernandez, a storm victim who was promised help but ultimately never received it:

Rosaline Fernandez and her three children live in a tiny apartment. It’s all the high school Spanish teacher could find – or afford – after Superstorm Sandy ravaged her Jamaica Bay home on Long Island, N.Y., a year ago. The bay water met the ocean water, soon destroying her car, the furniture inside her home, her kids’ clothes and all the food.

“The first floor was completely washed out,” Fernandez told America Tonight. “There was mold. There was water. There [were] funky smells.”

Months of living in a hotel came and went before Fernandez heard that the Red Cross could help her out. She said she spoke to a caseworker who told her about the Move-In Assistance Program, a program that has helped nearly 3,000 households, according to the Red Cross. She said that the caseworker explained how Fernandez would be eligible for money to move into a new place and that all of her household items would be replaced. The Red Cross told Fernandez that she was eligible for $10,000. Once she found a new home, all she had to do was submit a W-9 tax form and the application, and she’d be set. Months later – and now more than a year after Sandy – she has not received her Red Cross aid…

“There are hundreds of people across New York that all have the same story, that were all told they would be assisted or they’re eligible for assistance, and did homework for the Red Cross,” said Ben Smilowitz, founder of the Disaster Accountability Project, a nonprofit aiming to improve transparency in relief organizations. Smilowitz, a former Red Cross volunteer during Hurricane Katrina, said that many people affected by Sandy “jumped through hoops, took days off work to collect information, and then only to find out that they weren’t eligible in the first place.”

As Smilowitz indicated, Fernandez was not alone in her struggle, as hundreds of other victims have been left in the cold by a change in Red Cross policy. What that change was exactly, and why it was instituted remains a mystery, but according to the report, many Red Cross employees, trying to help struggling families, were left outraged and dismayed by the upper management’s decision to do so:

The Red Cross worker, who wished to remain anonymous, said that, in general, he believed that the humanitarian organization attempts to be a good steward of donors’ dollars.

“However, the decision that was implemented on May 6 didn’t seem to have anything to do with that,” the worker told America Tonight. “There were clients who had received a commitment from the Red Cross for money to assist them in recovering from the storm, but then were deemed ineligible. That’s not assisting clients. That’s not directing the donor dollar where it should be. That’s lying to the victims of the storm and survivors of the storm.”

The Red Cross insists that the program criteria has been consistent since February, but that’s not what Red Cross workers say. America Tonight spoke to several former workers and one who still works there. They told MacVicar that after May 6, there was so much confusion about the program that they were ordered to not speak to their clients. Some Red Cross workers were so upset about telling clients they were no longer eligible for assistance that they quit their jobs. None of the current or former Red Cross employees who spoke to America Tonight could say for sure why the change was made, knowing only that it came from upper management.

For its part, the Red Cross has promised Congressional staff members that they would review their policies and attempt to honor any promises made that they have since rescinded.

“If clients believe they were promised assistance by a Red Cross caseworker and our documentation supports this, we will honor their request, even if they do not fully meet program criteria,” a spokesperson for the Red Cross told Aljazeera America.

Time will tell if the Red Cross comes through on their promise.

Have you or anyone you know been given assistance by the Red Cross following Sandy. Did they make you a promise but later deem you ineligible for funds? Lets us know.

Some of the many donations to the civic’s 2010 food drive.

The Madison-Marine-Homecrest Civic Association has kicked off its annual Thanksgiving food drive to assist the needy. The group is collecting non-perishable food items, both kosher and non-josher, along with monetary donations to put towards turkeys.

The food drive has been underway for a few weeks now, with collection boxes at area businesses including Michael’s Bakery, JoMart Chocolates, Pronto Pizza (all three of which are on Avenue R at Nostrand Avenue); Tom’s Cleaners and Henry’s Deli (on Avenue S at Nostrand Avenue); G & S Pork Store, Avenue U Fish Market, and T & D Bakery (all on Avenue U ); and, Roosevelt Savings Bank (Avenue U and Nostrand Avenue).

Goods will be used to support the needy served by the large food pantry book at Our Lady of Refuge Church, in Flatbush.

The drive concludes with a meeting and party on Thursday, November 21, at 7:30 p.m. at the King’s Chapel (Quentin Road and East 27th Street).

Expected guests at the meeting are Public Advocate-elect Letitia James, Comptroller John Liu, 61st Precinct commanding officer Captain John Chell, and Fr. Michael Perry, pastor of Our Lady of Refuge Church.

Checks to purchase turkeys, payable to “Madison-Marine Civic Association,” also may be brought to the November 21 meeting or sent to:  M.M.H.C.A., PO Box 432, Homecrest Station, Brooklyn, NY 11229. For further information, call(718) 375-9158.

Soruce: Claudio Forquina

Soruce: Claudio Forquina

Every New Year’s Day, dozens of bold (crazy) people flock to the shore to join members of the Coney Polar Bear swim club and plunge into the frigid ocean, all for a chance to feel what it is like to have ice cold water lap against their private parts. What a lot of people don’t know is that the New Year’s Day swim, which anyone can participate in, is only one in a series of otherwise exclusive icy swim outings undertaken by the Polar Bears all winter. Amusing the Zillion is reporting that the Polar Bear’s are accepting new members and are employing a lottery system to divvy out the open spots.

While the media makes it seem that the Polar Bears are out only on January 1, the club has an active schedule all winter. Every Sunday at 1 p.m., from November 3 until April, enthused Coney Polar Bear members gather to brave the frosty waters of the Atlantic, refusing to deny themselves ocean splendor until the hot summer months.

If this sounds like your idea of a great time, you can join them by registering for a lottery that will select 10 lucky people. Amusing the Zillion broke down what is expected of selected new members:

To register for the lottery, you must sign up here and will be notified of the results by November 9th. Selected applicants are required to pay a $25 application fee (non-refundable), participate in 12 swims within a single season between November and April and be voted in by a majority of the membership. The club has approximately 150 full-time members with about 100 coming out for weekly swims…

You can also join the Coney Polar Bear Club for one guest swim. Just show up at the Bears “Clubhouse” at the Aquarium’s Education Hall on the Coney Island Boardwalk at West 8th Street by 12:30 pm with your bathing suit, a towel, surf boots or an extra pair of sneakers, and some warm clothing.

On the registration page, I found the last perk to be the most interesting one promised to members:

The privileges of membership:

  • Participation in our weekly swims and other Club activities
  • Use of our changing facilities
  • Full voting rights
  • The right to own and wear the official Club patch
  • Bragging rights to your wimp friends

Yes, your wimp friends will have no choice but to bow down to your official Polar Bear club patch all while you brag about the time you flung yourself into 12 degree water last February.

Anyway, their swims on New Year’s Eve, which are open to all, are done to raise money for Camp Sunshine and other charities for children with life threatening diseases. According to Amusing the Zillion, the Polar Bears pull down $20,000 annually for their causes, which is amazing and should be applauded.

Anyway, the Polar Bears are announcing their new members on Saturday, November 9, so if you want a shot to join them, you best register quickly. Good luck!

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