Staff Sgt. John Grigg, 32, of the Marine Corps' 6th...

Staff Sgt. John Grigg, 32, of the Marine Corps' 6th Communications Battalion, Alpha Co., holds a stack of toys and games for children at the Toys for Tots warehouse in Central Islip on Friday, Oct. 10, 2014. Credit: Daniel Brennan

Volunteering for a charity during the holiday season is the essence of the idea that it's better to give than to receive. If you have time on your hands now through New Year's Eve, you can help some of the Island's charities achieve their altruistic goals.

The U.S. Marines Toys for Tots program in Suffolk County, for instance, is in need of volunteers as well as gift donations.

"The demand is extremely high right now," says Staff Sgt. John Grigg of Toys for Tots, which is hoping to collect and distribute 100,000 toys this year.

Here are local organizations where you can volunteer in the spirit of the season. Note that although these are all volunteer programs, some positions involve background checks and have other requirements.



THE ORGANIZATION The U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots program collects and distributes tens of thousands of new, unwrapped toys annually to community centers, churches and other nonprofit organizations.

WHAT'S NEEDED Workers to sort toys at the warehouse in Suffolk County and deliver them to local organizations that distribute them to local kids.

HOW TO APPLY Volunteer via the form posted on the websites.


83 Carleton Ave., Central Islip

INFO 631-234-1049,

THE ORGANIZATION Multiservice community resource center

WHAT'S NEEDED Gift wrappers, food servers, decorators and elves (with their own costumes) to help Santa at the children's Christmas celebration on Dec. 20. Also, storytellers, singers and arts and crafts experts are needed to teach members of the senior nutrition and mental health programs how to make their own Christmas decorations, holiday cards, gift bags and baskets.

HOW TO APPLY Contact Maria T. Carvajal, coordinator of administrative services by phone, or email


199 Second St., Mineola

INFO 516-294-8528,

THE ORGANIZATION A food bank that distributes to 570 agencies, including soup kitchens, food pantries and emergency shelters

WHAT'S NEEDED Drivers with their own vehicles to transport food donations from warehouses to distribution centers

HOW TO APPLY Check the volunteer opportunities and register at


INFO 631-543-6622,

THE ORGANIZATION Girl Scouts of America works to inspire confidence in 40,000 girls between ages 5 and 17 on Long Island.

WHAT'S NEEDED Adults to volunteer at winter break programs, assist at fundraising events, organize special events and mentor other volunteers

HOW TO APPLY Complete a volunteer application online.


11 Davis Ave., Garden City

INFO 516-224-5800 or 516-224-5842,

THE ORGANIZATION A museum with interactive exhibits that offers family workshops, live theater performances and other activities

WHAT'S NEEDED Volunteers at Countdown to 12, the museum's New Year's Eve party for kids and parents, noon-5 p.m. Dec. 31. Education program assistants, who go through training and make a commitment, also are needed.

HOW TO APPLY Email Audrey O'Malley, associate director of visitor experience, at, or call the museum.


128 Pine Aire Dr., Brentwood

INFO 631-231-8290,

THE ORGANIZATION Nonprofit community outreach center serving Brentwood, Bay Shore, Central Islip and neighboring communities

WHAT'S NEEDED Volunteers to help stock the pantry and fill baskets with turkey and Thanksgiving food items, which are distributed on-site to needy families. Bilingual (Spanish and English) volunteers are especially needed.

HOW TO APPLY Contact volunteer coordinator Theresa Waldron at 631-231-8290.


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