Where's Your Holiday Service Spirit?

by Tania Rahman, Social Media and Marketing Intern

It's been a long, stressful fall semester. The upcoming week has students frantically memorizing notes, catching up on missed lectures, and studying left and right for their classes until finals draw to an end and everyone is home free for the holiday break.

Well, not everyone.

Many people are still suffering from the devastation that Hurricane Sandy had wreaked. Houses are in the process of being rebuilt, meaning there are still those who don't even have a home to go to.

Binghamton University's own Hillel organization is aware of the support that is still needed to help the victims. They have taken it upon themselves to recruit BU students and anyone else in an online registration format to volunteer in the  New York/New Jersey areas, particularly Brooklyn, Staten Island, South Shore, Hoboken, and the Jersey Shore. Though many other places were deeply affected by the hurricane, these are sites that are most accessible to those that live in the New York City area. We urge people to take time out of their breaks if they can and sign up to lend a hand at these locations.

In addition to volunteering to support Sandy victims, the New York area offers many opportunities  that people can take advantage of to give back to the community in other ways and help those in need. New York Cares, for example, is the city''s largest volunteer organization. Before going out to help, volunteers are required to attend a short orientation meeting in any of the listed places that is most convenient to them. They are then able to sign up for whatever activity or event that they prefer. Make use of all the free time you have and use the chance to gain a new perspective about the city that never sleeps.

Despite being home to more than 8 million people, New York City is not the only area that needs our help. Many of our students come from out of state, and therefore seek opportunities to volunteer elsewhere. Idealist is a great source to find organizations to volunteer with in any location. Moreover, the website can also be utilized to find both job and internship opportunities as well.

Last, but not least, is our fair city of Binghamton. The city is crawling with opportunities to volunteer  if you happen to be staying in the area over winter break. Whether you volunteer at the food pantry at 100 Main Street, the Thrifty Shopper on Upper Front Street, or even at Willow Point Nursing Home, any gesture will have an impact on the community.

The holiday break is a great time to celebrate, but we urge you to keep in mind that it is a period of time where volunteer services for the needy are widely appreciated. Enjoy the break and volunteer!

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