To give is to love, is it not? Especially during the winter holidays, and more especially when there is no expectation of getting something in return. Here are six ways East Enders can spend their time and share their resources to help their neighbors in need.
Santa's Little Helpers
The Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons has a special place in the hearts of many here, and for good reason. The nonprofit organization helps hundreds of lonely dogs and cats find happy homes each year, and there are many ways to help ARF carry out its work. You can donate pet food and supplies, you can volunteer to walk the dogs, you can give money, you can shop at ARF's sophisticated thrift store in Sagaponack, and, of course, you can adopt or foster a furry friend.
124 Daniel's Hole Road, Wainscott, 631-537-0400; arfhamptons.org
Home for the Holidays
"Your help will always be welcome," says Maureen's Haven, an East End shelter program for the homeless that operates at various houses of worship from Nov. 1 through April 30. Volunteers are the organization's bread and butter, helping to coordinate beds, meals, and other aspects of the shelter's good works. Maureen's Haven also welcomes donations of money and supplies, including personal hygiene items or gently used clothing.
28 Lincoln Street, Riverhead, 631-727-6831; maureenshaven.org
A Literal Cup of Cheer
When is a mug more than a mug? When its sale benefits a college scholarship fund for local students and its message promotes a healthy environment. The East Hampton Town Trustees sell a ceramic mug featuring the words "Save a Fish . . . End Balloon Pollution," plus an original, colorful balloon-fish logo based on an original design by Trustee Susan McGraw Keber, out of actual balloon bits she plucked from local beaches.
267 Bluff Road, Amagansett, 631-267-8688; ehtrustees.com
In Springs, note cards featuring artwork by local children are for sale, $2.50 for a four-pack with envelopes included, at the Springs Library. The kids draw local agricultural scenes and landmarks such as the Parsons blacksmith shop and the Hook Mill. The proceeds benefit the Springs Historical Society, which maintains the library, meaning a Springs note card is a gift given two times at once.
1 Parsons Place, Springs; springshistoricalsociety.org
Share the Warmth
The Farmers' Almanac is predicting a cold, cruel winter, and with the added pressures of the Covid-19 pandemic, some of your East End neighbors may find themselves short on oil, electricity, or other critical bills. Why not pay an older friend's heating oil bill this winter? The East Hampton Town and Southampton Town Human Services Departments and local food pantries are often able to connect those in need with more fortunate people who can lend a hand.
Set the Dinner Table
Speaking of food pantries, they make it their general mission to make sure everyone has warm and healthy food in their bellies, but around this time of year they also focus on Thanksgiving and the winter holidays. They exist in almost every hamlet and village on the South Fork, and welcome donations of food staples and monetary contributions to help clients receive fresh meat, dairy, and produce. A group called All for the East End helps support the food pantries with larger fund-raisers and events.
East Hampton -- easthamptonfoodpantry.org
Sag Harbor -- sagharborfoodpantry.org
Montauk -- montaukfoodpantry.org
Shelter Island -- sipchurch.org
Southampton -- heartofthehamptons.org
Bridgehampton -- facebook.com/bridgehamptoncommunityfoodpantry & bhccrc.org
All for the East End -- aftee.org