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 delivers it to New Yorkers like these. Volunteers gather fresh, perishable produce 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 produce 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 Starlight Send a Smile, Send a Bear program distributes teddy bears to youth experiencing lengthy hospital stays and ongoing medical treatments due to prolonged illness or injury. Teddy bears can uplift children’s spirits while they spend the day undergoing often-invasive procedures and hours of arduous waiting. Cuddling with the teddy bear can also provide a welcome distraction from the stress of medical treatment. Starlight distributes more than 3,000 teddy bears to hospital pediatric units in the tri-state area every year.
As they lead groups through the heart of Times Square, Manhattan Walking Tours' licensed guides tailor their narration to the interests of each of their up to eight participants. They follow an organic, ever-changing tour route as they answer questions one-on-one and strike up conversation with each urban adventurer, eschewing common tour-guide tactics such as screaming the names of U.S. presidents. As they navigate city history from 42nd Street to 47th Street, the guides use their experience as actors and city museum historians to entertain and educate their small groups. They're also undeterred by parades and seasonal events, taking alternate routes when necessary to cast a light on the history of often-unseen landmarks. At times, they venture right into the special-event happenings to grant visitors a glimpse into city culture.
Over the course of each tour, guides expound on some of the city's oldest architecture, pointing out buildings in the Paramount and Beaux-Arts styles among other stone and glass structures dating back to the late 1800s. Underneath vibrant billboards and twinkling theater marquees, they reveal secrets of the famed theater industry, such as why Sardi's Restaurant became the place for theater artists to wait for their reviews. They also let guests in on ancient questions such as why the city decided to drop a ball on New Year's Eve, how Times Square got its name, and which pizza chef the Tony Awards were named after.
According to a study funded by the National Association of Music Merchants, students in quality instrumental programs score 17 percent higher in mathematics than those in schools without music programs. The VH1 Save the Music Foundation organizes such programs in schools and raises awareness about their positive benefits. They equip each school with the tools necessary to establish a sustainable instrumental-music program, such as a set of band or string instruments, a keyboard or guitar lab, or a mariachi ensemble. Since its inception, VH1 Save the Music has provided new musical instruments to 1,850 public schools in more than 192 school districts across the country.