An elderly man without access to fresh food, a child whose stomach growls during school, and an unemployed mother all face the same challenge—not knowing where their next meal will come from. This is where City Harvest steps in. This year, City Harvest will collect 46 million pounds of excess food and deliver it to New Yorkers like these. City Harvest gathers good food from all segments of the food industry, including restaurants, grocers, corporate cafeterias, manufacturers, and farms, using a fleet of trucks and bikes to deliver it to distribution points. Roughly 400 community programs throughout the five boroughs—such as Volunteers of America and St. Luke's Lutheran Church—ensure the food reaches the people who need it most, free of charge. For City Harvest, each pound of food costs just 24 cents to deliver, making it an affordable, efficient way to help feed the more than one million New Yorkers who face hunger every year.
The Upper West Side location of thrift store chain Housing Works offers second hand furniture, clothing, media pieces and trinkets to anyone willing to do a bit of digging. Clothing is found on racks throughout the store, arranged according to color in a rainbow of colors. Red tops sit next to orange tops and on down the line, making shopping at Housing Works always an adventure. Colder weather items include coats and furs, while a large basket of discount t-shirts attract the summertime cool kid crowd, seeking something seriously vintage. Since this is a non-profit, the money from every book, CD or piece of artwork you buy goes to help homelessness and AIDS in New York City, so you can feel free to shop without a twinge of guilt.
Committing to program participants from middle school until high-school graduation, Breakthrough New York tutors public-school students in after-school and summer enrichment programs, training them for the academic challenges presented by such exclusive colleges as Harvard, Brown, and Wesleyan. During the course of the 2011 Building Readers summer session, students will complete eight at-home reading assignments, including A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, and Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. After finishing the program, students will be able add the books to their personal libraries to peruse and enjoy again. This extracurricular foray into literary criticism inspires greater thoughtfulness and intellectual curiosity in students, and can lead to further pursuit of knowledge.
With more than 120 classes and a plethora of programs offered each week, the YMCA bolsters bodies with invigorating and enjoyable fitness regimens throughout Manhattan. Aspiring circus strongpersons have their pick from brawn-building courses such as kettlebell for a full flexibility workout, spinning for 45 minutes of fat-burning cardio, and capoeira for winning dance-fights against hard-bargaining local street vendors.
“Stand Up for Charity” raises funds for charitable organizations by recruiting celebrities from the worlds of film, music, sports, and comedy to deliver laugh-worthy anecdotes at local venues. Today’s Groupon ushers guests to a benefit for The Joshua Morales Fund, which helps children with transverse myelitis, a spinal-cord condition that can cause severe paralysis. Rather than hot-glue rhinestones to the event’s title in the program, the organizers have studded its lineup with Hollywood stars, including Judah Friedlander, who plays Frank Rossitano on 30 Rock, and Home Alone’s Macaulay and Kieran Culkin. Standup pros such as Jim Gaffigan and Janeane Garofalo also unfurl their potent punch lines to cause wave after wave of infectious giggles. Rounding out the bill, radio humorist Jim Norton and voice actor Todd Barry and will both flex their comic muscles and bench-press Emmy-winning funny lady Judy Gold.
Only about 10 percent of the students in the iMentor program have parents who have attended college, so the mentors can provide crucial advice and one-on-one guidance that may otherwise be unavailable to students. Since 1999, iMentor has worked with more than 7,000 students, and in the next year, the program aims to connect 3,000 more students with mentors. iMentor plans to host Kickoff to College events for college juniors who are beginning the complicated process of college applications. The events will mark the beginning of college planning for the school year, and encourage students to explore scholarship and financial-aid opportunities as well as discuss academic and career goals with their mentors.