Giving Back to Those in Our Community Is a Win-Win This Holiday Season

Column from Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay

The holiday season, for many, is a time of celebration and gathering with family and loved ones. For too many, though, it is a time of economic uncertainty, stress and anxiety. As a community, there are plenty of ways we can help alleviate some of those pressures for our neighbors who might be facing tough times. All across New York there are food pantries, soup kitchens and non-profit organizations distributing day-to-day and winter necessities, and many of those great organizations are operating right here in and around the 120th Assembly District.

Food insecurity is one of the biggest challenges for struggling families, especially during the winter months. Locally, there are a number of food banks, congregate meal locations, soup kitchens and other avenues for individuals to get needed resources. Some of the local organizations working to combat that insecurity need volunteers. They are also looking for whatever what you can provide or spare during this holiday season.

For example, the Foodbank of Central New York and the Oswego County Health Mobile Food Pantryare two great options for those with the means to make a donation. Additionally, there are many other great resources in the region, and they can be found here.

For those who want to support their neighbors in other ways, consider utilizing one of the many Salvation Army locations available in the region. The Salvation Army has been helping to provide housing, combat hunger and bring holiday cheer to the less fortunate for decades. Visit the Salvation Army web site to find a nearby location, or for information about how to volunteer with the organization.

Lastly, to help struggling community members stay warm during the winter months, the United Way of Central New York is sponsoring a coat drive through Sunday, Jan. 2. New or lightly worn winter coats and other cold-weather gear may be dropped off at locations listed on the United Way’s web site.

As winter begins in earnest, the needs of those struggling become more pressing. If you have the capacity, please consider helping those who may need a little extra support this holiday season. A little bit goes a long way and as New Yorkers, we have always found ways to take care of those who need it the most. I sincerely hope this year we continue that proud tradition and work together to help make the holidays a little brighter for our less fortunate neighbors.