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New Yorkers Have Many Options To Help Turn Thanksgiving Into Volunteer Season

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The Thanksgiving season is a time when most of us reflect on what we're thankful for. Often that leads to questions about how we can help and give back to those who are less fortunate.

As CBSN New York's Mary Calvi found out, there are many ways to donate both your time and money to those in need.

It was a first for Nick Brunetti -- volunteering at the Food Bank for New York City. But he said it won't be his last.

"It's easy. It's two hours out of your day. It's nothing. Everyone should try it," Brunetti said.

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He's now one of the 800 volunteers who help keep the pantry running every week. Right now, the non-profit is giving away 2,000 turkeys during it's 5 Boro Turkey Tour and many wouldn't know what to do without it.

"I come every year for the turkey," said Dolly Burns of the Bronx.

Thanksgiving volunteerism
(Photo: CBSN New York)

"Happy, very happy. I have turkey. I don't have money for buy," another person said.

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But the Food Bank is still looking for some monetary help this season to help feed New Yorkers.

"Food Bank of New York City is currently running a 10-million meals match, so, normally, $1 helps provide five meals for a family. During the holidays, every dollar donated helps to provide 10 meals for a family in need," said Camesha Grant, VP of Community Connections and Reach Food Bank for New York City.

According to experts, 1 in 5 New Yorkers depend on aid for food.

Which is why Stop & Shop stores have set up a holiday box program. Each $10 box is full of trimmings for a holiday meal, that customers can buy for needy families.

"Hunger is a 365 issue, but during the holidays you want everyone to have that great warm meal with their family and friends," said Stephanie Shuman, public relations manager for Stop & Shop Store NYC.

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And at God's Love We Deliver, volunteers and staff are busier than ever. The non-profit cooks and home-delivers meals for people too sick to shop or cook for themselves.

"It gives me goose bumps that to know that they are waiting for me to deliver food to them," volunteer Brenda Curtis said.

"My Thanksgiving is taking care of, but there are a lot of people in this city who have nothing and no one, and we must help them," volunteer Minna Lipkin added.

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God's Love We Deliver is preparing to deliver an agency record this Thanksgiving -- 8,000 meals -- but are in need of some help getting them to those in need.

"So, if you've got a car, if you've got a few hours on your Thanksgiving morning, we promise you, you will be home for your own feast," said Emmet Findley, director of communications for God Love We Deliver.

So there are plenty of options to help turn Thanksgiving season into volunteer season.

For more information on how you can help out, please click here and here.

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