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Christmas Day volunteers find few options at LI charities

Christmas may be a day of giving gifts, but it's not necessarily the best day for giving the gift of time.

First-time volunteers seeking to work at a soup kitchen or group home on Christmas Day are finding it difficult to locate places on Long Island where they can drop in to give their time on the holiday.

Levittown resident Michael Sinclair wanted to devote this Christmas Day to volunteering.

"What I've been finding is it's a lot harder than I thought," Sinclair, 34, said.

Many soup kitchens, food pantries and other charitable organizations that are open on Christmas Day, such as The Interfaith Nutrition Network and the Ronald McDonald House, require volunteers to attend orientation and commit to volunteering for a period of time before they can serve. Other groups are closed for the holiday.

"What we're looking for is an ongoing commitment," not a one-day stint, said Mike Pfeiffer, program manager for the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island in New Hyde Park. "It's tough to train one person and they're gone."

Meanwhile, Sinclair said he planned to keep searching for a good deed to do on Christmas.

"I'm not going to give up," he said. "I am going to do something."

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