I need to set up a holiday drive in my building, asap!
November 21, 2016 5:30 PM   Subscribe

I'm the property manager for a building in midtown Manhattan, NY with about 100 residential rental apartments. I'd like to set up some kind of gift drive, food drive, coat drive, etc, but I have no idea what to do! And maybe it's too late in the season? Help!

Oh man. I can't believe I waited so late to get this going. So I manage a lovely new residential building in midtown Manhattan. I have nice holiday decorations to go up in the lobby next week and I would love to do some kind of charity drive, both to help those less fortunate and to foster community in the building.

Alas I've never done this before and have no idea how to set one up. And it has to be SOON - preferably early next week at the latest. Here's what I have - a great staff and Super, and kind tenants who I'm sure would want to contribute. Here's what I don't have - time to do much research/legwork, or any kind of transportation.

I looked at Toys for Tots but their deadline for applying to be a pick up location was November 1st. I looked up Winter Wishes and all their letters (40,000!) have been filled. Everyone I've spoken to about this has pretty much said "yep, next year you'll know to start in October."

Can anyone think of anything I could try? Remember, I dont have a car so I can't actually truck anything anywhere. The best I can think of so far is finding another building in the neighborhood that's doing a drive and asking if I can just bring whatever I collect over to them :(
posted by silverstatue to Grab Bag (7 answers total)
Collect coats for the NYCares Coat Drive- if there are drop-off locations near you, you could walk or cab donations over as they come in.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:37 PM on November 21, 2016 [3 favorites]

Is there a local food distribution agency who'd be willing to pick up? Collecting canned or boxed food is easy to do ("shelf-stable" food only: nothing needing refrigeration or freezing). There's always a need for rice, peanut butter and jams, cereals, canned meat like tuna or chicken, cooking oil, canned vegetables and tomatoes, dried beans, just all sorts of stuff.

You could collect toiletries like soap, shampoo, disposable razors, women's menstrual products and more. Or a third choice would be clothes: warm coats of course, also gloves, hats, socks, underwear (both male and female --- don't forget bras!), t-shirts. (For sanitary reasons, underwear and socks should only be accepted if new, by the way, never used: would you want someone else's used underpants? Yuck.) You could even target a collection for baby food, clothing and gear. How about a book drive for jail inmates? And finally, there's also the various animal shelters and rescues: they always welcome food as well as blankets and cushions for the animals to cuddle on. Basically pick a target --- either a human or animal shelter, food kitchen, whatever --- and request the appropriate donations.

I've found collecting food for families is always easiest; just make sure to have your collection bin in some place that is both easy for donations to be dropped off and under someone's eyes constantly and can be secured when not watched, like next to a secretary's or receptionist's desk --- unfortunately it is pretty much a given that, even in a small place but especially in a large place like yours, that there will be at least one jerk who will steal out of that donation bin if they get the slightest chance.
posted by easily confused at 6:12 PM on November 21, 2016

Best answer: The NY Cares coat drive is a good idea. There's also City Harvest's food drive.
posted by bunderful at 6:23 PM on November 21, 2016

In a pinch you could always do a "donate your spare change" drive. No car required to count the money and write a check to a worthy nearby charity. And you can find someone to help "audit" the counting and check-writing.
posted by Threeve at 7:03 PM on November 21, 2016

Housing works has several easy ways to donate. My Manhattan apt building has a clothing donation bin that they operate.

Several NY organizations run toy drives.

NY Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

Coalition for the Homeless

A list from NY Cares

A list from Time Out NY (published 2012)

Another list

Good luck!
posted by Cranialtorque at 9:02 AM on November 22, 2016

If you just wanted to foster community, you could circulate a flyer asking residents what items they had on their 'wanted' lists. Then circulate the 'wanted' list, which will hopefully be full of realistic low-rent whatnot like single-use kitchen gadgets or a kids' backpack or whatever, and collect these, and re-distribute them (perhaps marked 'happy Xmas from apt 904!' so as to give the recipient an opportunity for a thanks should they want to extend one, but still leaving the recipients anon). People get what they need without buying stuff, people send unused stuff to a good home.
posted by kmennie at 9:43 AM on November 22, 2016

Response by poster: It looks like we're going with City Harvest, but all these ideas were wonderful! I will definitely come back to this Ask next year. Hopefully...earlier in the season :)
posted by silverstatue at 4:59 PM on November 22, 2016

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