Lend a little hand in your community, and make it a family affair! We've put together a guide to some places around Rockland County that need your help, including non-profit organizations, nursing homes, animal shelters, food pantries, and many more. Volunteer opportunities are available for children and adults alike. And remember - big or small, everyone has the power to make a difference
It’s never too early to teach your youngsters the importance of volunteering and giving back to their community. By volunteering together, you can show them firsthand the positive impact they can make by using their time, energy, and compassion for the greater good. Rockland County offers many kid-friendly community service opportunities with a little something for every type of volunteer, from working outdoors to earn that green thumb to providing comfort to furry friends in local animal shelters. Whichever cause you choose, make volunteering a must on your list of family activities this year and take time to remind your children how important it is to reach out and help others in our world.
March is Red Cross Month: The Red Cross provides relief to individuals affected by disasters and helps people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. Parents and kids ages 14 and older can help with mailings, hand out flyers at fundraising walks, help with fundraising events, or come up with their own projects to raise money for the Red Cross. To volunteer, fill out the application at nyredcross.org. 143 N. Broadway, Nyack. 845-358-0833; nyredcross.org.
People to People helps Rockland County residents through difficult times by providing food, clothing, and school supplies. Kids ages 14 and older, accompanied by a parent, can volunteer at the food pantry, where they’ll shelve, bag, and check expiration dates on food, or in the clothing room, where they’ll sort and rack donated clothing. The pantry is open Monday-Friday 9:30am-5pm. All volunteers must complete an application process. To get started, call the volunteer program office at 845-623-4900 x213. 121 W. Nyack Road, Nanuet; peopletopeopleinc.org.
Meals on Wheels Programs & Services of Rockland, Inc. provides “more than a meal” to the housebound, seniors, and others in need through nutritional, recreational, and social support programs. Parents and children of any age can assist by delivering meals for one hour, once a week; deliveries are made Monday-Friday 11am-12pm. Parents and children ages 12 and older can also assist in preparing and packaging food (Monday-Friday 7-11:30am). Parents and children of any age also can perform music and bring cheer to various Rockland County senior centers. Music makers and administrative, adult learning center, adult day care center, and commissary volunteers are greatly needed. To get started, contact Marissa Moscatello at 845-624-6325. 121 W. Nyack Road, Nanuet; mowrockland.com.
Make a Wish Come True
Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Hudson Valley grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich their lives with hope, strength, and joy. The Kids For Wish Kidsprogram allows children to help those closest to them: classmates or other kids in the community. Local children do it all—organize, raise funds, and manage their own programs with support from parents and/or teacher advisers. This hands-on experience shows children how their commitment and generosity can impact another child’s life and help grant a wish. The Make-A-Wish Foundation will provide balloons, buttons, banners, and other MAW items to sell. For more information on the Kids for Wish Kids program, contact Tara Thorne at 914-478-9474 or email email@example.com. For other volunteer opportunities, contact Abraham Almanza, volunteer manager, at 914-478-9503 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Wish House, 832 S. Broadway, Tarrytown; hudson.wish.org.
Keep Rockland Beautifulpromotes a cleaner and more beautiful county. Families can participate in the Great American Cleanup (April–May, registration is open) by joining or leading cleanup crews that will bag trash from the streets and streams. Cleanup volunteers are also welcome year round; register online. Parents (PTA members) and elementary and middle school-aged children can also bring Earth B.E.A.T. (Basic Environmental Awareness Training) to their schools. Earth B.E.A.T. is an interactive environmental program that teaches kids about environmental topics like the effects of pollutants on our watershed and the benefits of reducing, reusing, and recycling. To get involved with Keep Rockland Beautiful, call 845-708-9164. 120-126 N. Main St., 2nd Floor Annex, New City; keeprocklandbeautiful.org.
Help the Homeless
Grace Episcopal Church helps organize food and shelter for the homeless in our county. Parents and children can volunteer through the church’s Helping Hands program, which provides a hot dinner and overnight shelter for homeless individuals. Volunteers can also participate in the Midnight Run program. To volunteer or get more information, call the church and leave your name at 845-358-1297. 130 First Ave., Nyack.
Living Christ Church provides nondenominational suppers at 5pm each Sunday, year-round. Parents and children ages 12 and older can help with food preparation, serving, and cleanup. Children younger than high-school age must be accompanied by a parent. Please call ahead to see if more volunteers are needed on a particular Sunday. Contact Gary Hecht at 914-419-5450. 150 Piermont Ave., Nyack.
Christ Episcopal Church runs a food pantry, soup kitchen, and thrift shop, each of which accepts volunteers ages 13 and older. Contact Connie Maslik at 845-357-1615 x16. The thrift shop welcomes donations of gently used clothes and furniture. Contact Edward Hampson, thrift store manager, at 845-357-1615 x17. 65 Washington Ave., Suffern.
JCC of Rockland Mitzvah Program is dedicated to the enrichment and continuity of Jewish life and to the preservation and celebration of the Jewish heritage. The center’s mission is to strengthen individual awareness and connection to the Jewish community, the state of Israel, and the community at large through recreational, physical, educational, social, and cultural programs. Helpers are always welcome. If you would like to know how you can utilize your skills or outreach passion, contact Cathie Izen, family life director, at 845-362-4400 x103. 450 West Nyack Road, West Nyack; jccrockland.org.
Walk for a Cause
Head to nymetroparents.com/walks to find fundraising walks in your community. Walking together for a cause can bring your family closer together while supporting a worthy organization. It’s also a great way to get outdoors, exercise, and make new friends. Most charity walks in the New York metro area take place in the spring and fall. Be sure to plan ahead, because the sooner you register, the longer you have to raise money for the cause. Coming up: March for Babies in April and Walk Now for Autism Speaks in May.
DoSomething.org is one of the largest organizations in the United States that helps young people rock causes they care about. Kids ages 12 and older can join or start their own Do Something Club in their community and take action all year through Do Something’s campaigns and their own projects (apply at dosomething.org/clubs). You can also apply for a Do Something grant (dosomething.org/grants) to start your own community project—the organization gives out two $500 grants per week. For more information, call 212-254-2390 or visit dosomething.org.
To further encourage your children to volunteer, check out this great contest opportunity from Kids Who Give.