Grace Barattini, Assistant Features Editor
With the snow falling and the holiday season approaching, many people in the community find that this is the best time to show interest in the season of giving. Every year, Central New York experiences harsh winters with negative wind chills and storms that result in snowfall that can be measured in feet.
These weather conditions are hostile to those who are most vulnerable, motivating the community to give back to those in need. There are many local and nationwide charities that help people without homes during the severe winter season and those who also lack the resources to purchase food, clothing or even a toy for Christmas.
The holidays provide great opportunities for college students to get involved and donate anything from toys, food, clothes and more to those less fortunate than themselves.
Within the surrounding area of Utica College there is a plentiful number of charities that allow students to volunteer their time and participate in the season of giving.
The Salvation Army is a nationwide charity that has local sites near UC. It is known for giving back to others and “doing the most good.”
During the holiday season, The Salvation Army offers a helping hand by providing family dinners, assisting in paying families’ bills and giving the chance for a family to have toys under the tree for Christmas.
One program The Salvation Army has is the Angel Tree program, which allows children to have new clothes and toys under the tree on Christmas morning. As a donor, people can “adopt” an angel and purchase gifts for them.
Other programs the charity has is Bill-Pay Assistance, where the organization helps struggling families during the season by keeping the heat on during the harsh winter and by decreasing the financial burdens that come during the holidays.
The Salvation Army also provides a Grocery and Food Assistance Program where they deliver meals to families in need. On top of that, the organization hosts holiday event programs where donors and volunteers can spread holiday cheer to hospitals, senior citizens and gifting programs by bell ringing and providing toy donations, and much more.
Aside from The Salvation Army, Toys for Tots is another charity that allows UC students to get involved during this season.
Their mission is to collect unwrapped toys and distribute them to less fortunate children at Christmas, according to its website.
Simply buying one or numerous toys and dropping them off at a Toys for Tots drop-off/collection spot is a wonderful way to donate during the holidays. Many of these drop-off locations are at local businesses.
Besides these localized nationwide charities, there are plenty more that enjoy spreading the cheer of the holiday season. If you are interested in volunteering or donating this year, consider The Salvation Army or Toys for Tots or do some research of your own to find another charity.