Charity & Grassroots in New York

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The volunteers of Musicians On Call's Bedside Performance Program may not have gone through med school, but that doesn't mean they're not healers. In fact, in some cases the responses they're able to elicit from their small hospital-room audiences—a smile on a stress-racked face, a foot moving ever so slightly to the music—are enough to make most doctors jealous.

The concept is as simple as it is unconventional: a volunteer knocks on a hospital door and asks if the room's occupant would like to hear some music. Patients who agree are treated to a brief private concert, a respite from the anxiety and monotony that can characterize even brief hospital stays. These miniature performances are so effective that in its 14 years of existence the organization has garnered support from celebrities across the musical spectrum and has grown to include branches in six cities: New York, Nashville, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. Through these branches, it's arranged for more than 400,000 patients, family members, and caregivers to rest their minds and recharge their spirits through the power of live music.

Live music, however, isn't the only salve in Musicians On Call's arsenal. Hospitals in all 50 states, as well as in Puerto Rico and Ireland, have received comprehensive CD libraries, as well as CD players, as part of the organization's Music Pharmacy program.

NBC Nightly News features MOC from Ebie McFarland on Vimeo.

See how Groupon helps you discover local causes and lend a helping hand to projects big and small at the Groupon Grassroots blog.

1133 Broadway
New York,
NY
US

Thinking of the city rarely calls images of fog-ringed mountains and wolf-filled forests to mind, but Discover Outdoors?formerly known as Outdoor Bound?turns these scenes into reality. Owner, avid outdoorsman, and eight-time marathon runner Kirk Reynolds makes sure of it. He and a staff of experts?each a licensed trail guide and Wilderness First Responder or Wilderness EMT?temper the stress of city living with day trips to nearby natural enclaves and weekend camping excursions. The getaways thrill with activities such as hiking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, kayaking, and horseback riding.

International trips, meanwhile, quench a thirst for life-defining adventures beyond trips to the grocery store during peak Saturday hours. Among them: hikes up famed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, treks to Machu Picchu in Peru, and jaunts through the Canadian Rockies. Some of the journeys even grant travelers the opportunity to fundraise for a worthy cause as they explore.

139 Flatbush Ave
Brooklyn,
NY
US

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 50 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. More than 500 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 26 cents to deliver, making it an affordable, efficient way to help feed the nearly 2 million New Yorkers who face hunger every year.

575 8th Ave
New York,
NY
US

Shadows dart across the wall, a strange voice emerges from thin air, and you get the eerie feeling that you’re being followed. This is no ordinary place. The Iron Island Museum's paranormal history has captured the minds of countless visitors and has been featured on TV programs such as Ghost Lab and Ghost Hunters. Originally built as a church in 1883, the house later became a funeral home in the late 1950s, during which time it hosted more than 1,000 wakes. The business eventually shut down, and in 2000, the building was donated to The Iron Island Preservation Society of Lovejoy, which made a startling discovery: 24 canisters of cremated remains had been left behind.

Today, an all-volunteer staff leads tours of the church's vaulted ceilings, stained-glass windows, and themed rooms. The church showcases hundreds of historic relics, including military uniforms, railroad items, and a wooden altar that dates backs to 1896. However, the museum's biggest draws can't be seen, at least not most of the time. Guides and visitors stay alert for signs of paranormal activity and look for chances to communicate with what they consider to be some of the building's resident ghosts. The staff has even taken recordings that play back the voices of unknown figures saying things such as "I'm cold," and "Why don't they make pants for ghosts?"

998 E Lovejoy St
Buffalo,
NY
US

The lakeside dining room at Crescent Beach dazzles visitors with gourmet cuisine and scenic vistas of Lake Ontario. Like a lunchbox with Oscar Wilde’s face on it, the lunch menu adds a touch of sophistication to midday meals, tempting taste buds with delicacies such as the grilled-salmon-filet sandwich, served with flavorful cucumber-horseradish sauce ($10.99), or the Sam Adams new york strip steak, marinated in beer and paired with mashed potatoes and seasonal veggies ($26.99). The Sunday brunch menu pairs champagne and a chocolate fountain with made-to-order specialties like pancakes and Belgian waffles.

1372 Edgemere Dr
Rochester,
NY
US

With hundreds of locations across the country, Right Dental Group represents a collection of oral-healthcare professionals who deliver a variety of quality dental services. The collective places an emphasis on relationship building—meaning patients can confess their most egregious toffee-apple trespasses while receiving a teeth scrubbing delivered with precision and understanding. Each of the dentists is prescreened for a consistent record of excellence and the ability to efficiently locate a cavity in a toothstack. A skilled doctor and staff will skillfully probe forgotten mouth corners, eradicating tartar and expunging plaque from bacterial lairs. The included x-rays will help uncover any oral problem areas that cannot be seen with the shamelessly naked eye. After treatment, clients will be privy to tips that explain the proper brushing and flossing techniques to ward off gum disease and tooth loss, ensuring tongue-stoppers remain firmly rooted to the rest of the skeletal system.

35 E Grassy Sprain Rd
Yonkers,
NY
US