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Here's how to help our neighbors in need this Thanksgiving

Harlem mural on the office of council member Mark Levine

As we prepare to gather around the dinner table and give thanks, you might be wondering how we can help our neighbors who aren't as fortunate.

The fact is there are many people who do need help–and many ways to give.

fire in Hamilton Heights

Worried in particular about the families that were displaced by the six-alarm fire in Hamilton Heights last Friday? You can donate items like clothing, school supplies and toiletries at four drop-off points. Here's the notice that was distributed yesterday:

Of course, many other people in the general community need assistance with food, and Thanksgiving is the obvious time to help.

The office of Mark Levine, the council member for the 7th District of New York, offers a list of West Harlem food pantries (don't be afraid to stop by your office if you live elsewhere). It's a great resource to pass on to anyone who you think might need help food-wise:

West Harlem food pantries

There are also a number of national and city charities with local branches and services that are always looking for assistance. Although most organizations no longer have open spots for volunteers this Thanksgiving (typically you need to register in advance), all have direct links on their pages for donations, and some are accepting food right up until the holiday. Check their websites or call to find out more. Here is a start:

This annual charity event held at the Church of the Intercession on 155th Street is still accepting prepared dishes (they provide a list of suggestions) as well as donations of canned food, new clothing, toys, etc. You can also make a gift through a link on their website.

You can register to volunteer your time (although spots fill up in advance), give directly via a link on the website, or tell anyone who lives in Harlem about this charity's location on W 116th Street, which offers hot meals, fresh produce, and other assistance.

This New York charity delivers meals to all five boroughs and is always looking for volunteers, especially around the holidays. The website also has a link where you can click and donate.

This East Harlem food pantry is no longer accepting food donations for Thanksgiving, but it's not too late to make a financial gift or even volunteer for pre-Thanksgiving Dessert Prep tomorrow (11/22/17).

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