Charity & Grassroots in West New York

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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.

575 8th Ave
New York,
NY
US

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.

2569 Broadway
New York,
NY
US

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

After graduating from college, Lucia Rollow started looking for a place to print her photos in New York, only to be put off by expensive and snobbish darkrooms. So she began her own operation in a storage unit in the basement of an apartment building. Unable to tolerate solitary confinement for long, Lucia opened it up to other photographers and dubbed the space Bushwick Community Darkroom. Allison Putnam was among the influx of regular visitors, and she eventually became Lucia's cohort in the communal photography effort. The two share a passion for old-school photo printing, despite the availability of apps that impart vintage effects digitally. As Lucia told Gloria Dawson of The Brooklyn Ink, “The darkroom was the reason I fell in love with photography, just the idea that you could capture this image and replicate it and watch it appear seemingly out of nowhere is incredible.”

Meanwhile, photographers Vanessa Gill and Cheryl Arent were working on a communal-darkroom venture similar to Lucia's, and in 2012 the duos joined forces to crowdsource funding for a real studio space. Today, all four ladies work out of their newly opened studio, where they keep film photography alive with professional printing equipment and cryogenic storage tanks for old cameras. With the support of the community, this quartet teaches classes and provides film photographers with affordable access to resources such as enlargers and a Fujimoto CP51 color processor.

1095 Flushing Avenue
Brooklyn,
NY
US

A recurring guest on Martha Stewart Living radio, Simon Feil has not only been a self-described "chef by osmosis his entire life," but an actor and educator who shares his passion with amateur cooks. Feil and his team of chefs teach prospective sushi rollers to craft their own maki in group classes, private lessons, and sometimes even at students’ homes. Whether they're teaching individuals or corporate clients, chefs guide their charges through each step to creating platefuls of savory seafood. The variety of classes—which even includes a lesson geared toward pregnant sushi fans—encompasses many different levels of cooking experience and fish-whispering ability. Gift baskets, available for an additional fee, help outfit customers with their own maki-making gear.

109 E 16th St
New York,
NY
US

As music education declines in schools across the country in response to shrinking budgets, the VH1 Save The Music Foundation fights to keep music in kids' lives by bolstering these programs and raising awareness about the benefits of arts education. The organization equips qualifying schools 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 even a mariachi ensemble. Since its inception, VH1 Save The Music has provided new musical instruments to more than 1,900 public schools in more than 192 school districts across the country, improving academic performance, community pride, and self-esteem for 2.3 million kids.

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

1515 Broadway
New York,
NY
US