Many charities need donations of all kinds – food, volunteers, coats, warm clothing and toys – more than ever this year. As the weather gets colder, please remember the various coat drives in full swing now. Each drive requires you to go through your closets and select your older garments to give to those in need – or go to your wallet and purchase new ones on sale.

This season, our borough’s food pantries and soup kitchens have been rocked by the drastically-increased numbers of people coming to them for groceries and meals. Additionally, they all need more volunteers at their facilities.

We implore you to check your cupboards at home and see what non-perishables you can donate, and bring them to your local soap kitchen, food pantry or to any city firehouse.

Please consider becoming a volunteer and helping to deliver bags of groceries to the needy or cooking and serving the homeless and the hungry at our shelters.

At the very least, do a random act of kindness. Hold the door for someone, yield for pedestrians, think twice before blowing your horn or buy a hot cup of coffee for an outdoor worker. Random acts of kindness will make you feel better about yourself and your neighborhood too.

While you are out purchasing holiday presents for your loved ones, buy a few extra for those children who would otherwise have none.

John J. Doherty, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Sanitation, suggested in an Op-Ed column recently that we all pledge to rethink not only how you use gift-wrap, but also the very gifts we give. We can all make our holidays the brightest ever by giving thoughtful presents that warm the heart and do not come at the expense of the environment.

Give homemade gifts; entertainment; the gift of learning; classes in cooking; give your time or talent; give personal training sessions and please wrap your gifts in recycled paper. Better yet, reuse gift-wrap or create your own by using old calendars, comics, etc.

All of us at The Queens Courier wish you, your family and friends happy and healthy holidays.

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