How to Help with Our Holiday Drives

2D0A3746.JPGWhat do you look forward to most during the holiday season? Is it special gatherings with loved ones? Some much needed vacation time? Or is it that magic in the air that only occurs at this time of year?

While some of us look forward to the holidays, there are many who experience complicated feelings about this time of year. There are parents who worry that they’re not going to be able to fulfill their child’s request from Santa and older adults who may not have any close friends or family to visit. Many of the individuals and families who live in our residences experience these anxieties as we approach the holidays.

During the holidays, we hold two gift drives that help brighten the lives of those in our care. You can bring some much needed cheer to your neighbors in need. Here’s how you can help:

  • Toys for the Holidays is our gift drive for children living in our homeless and domestic violence shelters and in our group homes for at-risk youth. We also make sure the preschoolers at our Early Learning Center in the Bronx receive gifts, as many of these children and their families live below the poverty line.
  • Burt and Barbara’s Gifts of the Heart is our gift drive for older adults. Our goal is to ensure that every adult in our care who lives by him/herself, has no involved family, and runs the risk of being alone during the holidays will not be forgotten. Recipients of these gifts include the elderly, formerly homeless veterans, and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. While most holiday drives focus on children, this is a unique opportunity to help a group of people who are truly grateful for your support.

There are many ways to get involved with either of these initiatives:

  • Hold a toy or gift drive with your co-workers or community group to collect items to donate.
  • Volunteer with us! We look for groups to sort through and wrap the hundreds of gifts that we distribute to adults and children.
  • Donate money. If you want to get creative with your fundraising, host an “ugly holiday sweater” day in your office and ask each participant to contribute a set amount to show off their worst holiday fashion!

If you’re inspired to participate in our gift drives, reach out to us! Or if you have ideas of your own, we’d love to work with you. Please contact Andrew Zibell at (212) 496-4307 or

Watch Last Year's Holiday Volunteers in Action

The help of volunteers at our annual gift drive, benefiting both children and adults, made the holidays brighter for our clients. Watch what this experience means for them and those that we serve.