Watch CBS News

Hundreds Of Volunteers Working To Make Sure Thanksgiving And Chanukah Are Memorable For Many New Yorkers In Need

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- It's the time of year when we think about giving to others. And while this year the pandemic has created an even greater need for those less fortunate, charities say finding volunteers to roll up their sleeves and lend a hand isn't.

Hundreds of volunteers working five- and six-hour shifts are doing something that lets people feel the warm embrace of community.

"It has been the easiest thing to do: Get the volunteers. People are hungry to do hands-on work. They're ready to get out there and support New Yorkers in need," Shelby Brown, director of volunteer services for the Met Council, told CBS2's Thalia Perez on Sunday.

Brown said people were eager to sign up and give of their time for the massive Chanukah and Thanksgiving giveaway.

"This is Chanukah packages for holocaust survivors. It's warm meals and then warm clothes for those who need it for the winter," said Eric Goldstein, CEO of UJA Federation of New York.

Just over 4,000 gift boxes in total were packaged up at the Met Council on Lexington Avenue and will be distributed to New York City recipients. It was a joint venture by the UJA Federation of New York and the Met Council. They both say it takes a tremendous effort to find all of the items they generously give away, this year especially.

"It was difficult to get 2,000 packages of Chanukah candles due to supply chain issues," Brown said. "In a way, we need to be more planful and intentional to make sure everyone has what they need."

Two thousand of the gift boxes are just for holocaust survivors.

"We want them to feel happy. We want them to be reminded of the Chanukahs of their youth and the opening of the presents," Goldstein said.

Some of the thoughtful items inside include Chanukah candles, chocolates, dreidels, and socks.

And no detail is missed. Each box comes with a handwritten note signed by the volunteer who put the kit together, Perez reported.

"It makes me feel great. It's a nice thing to do, especially with Thanksgiving and Chanukah coming up. It seems like exactly in the spirit of this time of year," Katie Hartman said.

Volunteers say giving back this year means so much more when you're giving not only joy but comfort to others in need.

Chanukah falls on Nov. 29 -- the Monday after Thanksgiving

CBS2's Thalia Perez contributed to this report.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.