The season of giving is upon us. Looking for ways to lend a hand and give back to your neighbors in Albany County? From donations, to volunteering, to spending locally, scroll on for some of the ways you can help community members and local organizations this holiday season and beyond.
Whether you’re able to offer monetary support, holiday presents, or essential items, no amount is too big or too small to donate. Here are some locations accepting donations in Albany County.
The Free Food Fridge Albany project is a network of community fridges that provide access to fresh food in marginalized neighborhoods and communities throughout the area. Help keep the fridges full by donating fresh food, produce, frozen foods, boxed items and more. Visit the Free Food Fridge website for a community shopping list and more ways to help. The Connect Center for Youth in Cohoes is also accepting donations for their food pantry. Unexpired, nonperishable goods can be delivered to the pantry Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 AM to 2 PM. The Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York in Latham serves 23 counties across New York State and is always accepting donations. The Ten Broeck Mansion is also hosting a food drive this holiday season. When visiting for events such as the Holiday House, consider dropping off canned or boxed goods which will be delivered to a local food pantry.
The Toys for Tots program is accepting donations of new, unwrapped toys to deliver to children and families throughout the county. Follow this link to find a list of regional locations to drop off your items. Want to help make the holidays complete for a local family? Donate through Adopt-a-Family. Whether with your own family, friends or co-workers, you could help buy items on a family's list, provide a monetary donation the program will use to buy gifts for unmatched families, or donate new, unwrapped gifts which will be combined with other donations for families across the county. Another way to help bring Christmas morning magic is through the USPS Operation Santa program. Adopt a child's letter to Santa, pick out their present, and ship it through a participating post office (enter your zip code on the USPS website to find one close by!)
Essential Need Donations
Blood donations through the American Red Cross have helped save countless lives, and blood drives are held throughout the county or the surrounding area daily. Find a blood drive near you through this link. Grassroots Givers located in Albany accept donations of books, clothing and home essentials such as pots and pans, blankets, and personal care items Monday through Thursday by appointment. The ReStore location in Albany operated by Habitat for Humanity Capital District helps provide affordable furniture and home accessories. Donate gently used furniture, appliances, lighting fixtures and more.
If you are able, consider making a monetary donation to one of the above projects or to a local non-profit organization; donating is often a simple click away. Have a friend or family member passionate about a cause or organization? Consider donating in their name as a gift this holiday season.
There are plenty of volunteer opportunities for groups, individuals, and families throughout the county. The Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York based in Latham has a variety of shifts posted to their website for volunteers to help sort and re-box donations. The Connect Center for Youth in Cohoes also has a variety of volunteer opportunities. Volunteer within their food pantry, attend one of their Saturday Work Days, help package and deliver meals for students in Cohoes through their BackPack program, or sign-on to be a mentor during one of their after-school programs.
If you love animals, The Mohawk Hudson Humane Society has a wide range of volunteer opportunities. Help the Empties for Animals Team sort through bottles and raise money used to help care for the animals. Children aged 5 to 17 looking for ways to help can sign-up for the Telling Tails program. Children can read to adoptable pets which helps with pet enrichment and allows the animals to become more comfortable around people.
Visit the United Way of the Capital Region's United to Volunteer site for more ways to volunteer throughout the region.
While shopping for presents, food, and decorations this season, help give back to the community by supporting local businesses. Looking for holiday events hosted by local businesses and organizations throughout the season? Check out our Holiday Celebrations page to see how you can support Albany County while spreading some holiday cheer.