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How You Can Help This Holiday Season

Today’s difficult financial times are affecting everyone and Long Island-based non-profits are not exempt. With the holidays around the corner, agencies across Nassau County are finding it difficult to meet the needs of struggling families.

In an effort to assist its community partners in need, the United Way of Long Island earlier this month released a “Holiday Wish List” featuring the local agencies seeking donations of goods and services to help needy families in your community.

Among the United Way-affiliated organizations in need this holiday season is the Hicksville Boys & Girls Club. “During these challenging economic times, for community-based organizations such as ours to continue our much-needed services, we need ongoing financial support,” said Tom Bruno, the club’s director. “As you are aware, government funding is being cut and foundation donations are being taxed due to their investment problems. We, as other not-for-profits, are experiencing lower donations than usual as a result of what’s going on with the economy.”

According to Bruno, many community members are barely making their monthly bills. “These [same] people are also very concerned as to how they are going to provide their families with not only gifts for the holidays, but also the traditional holiday dinners,” he said, adding that the club is most in need of holiday fixings for family dinners, gifts for young people and their family members, including new toys and clothing, as well as gently-used holiday decorations.

“As a member of our Hicksville community, what better way to show your support of our town by helping those who are in need?  This is also an opportunity to demonstrate to your families the true spirit of the holidays, which is to give rather than to receive,” Bruno said. “This is the time of year when community members who are in a position to assist others might want to consider reaching out to organizations, such as ours, to see how they can help.  We are aware of families who are in need and we would be able to coordinate an effort to help them.”

In addition to monetary support and tangible items, Bruno said those looking to give back can also help the club by giving of their time. “[We] are always looking for community members to volunteer at the club. There are a variety of ways that this can be done. We are looking for individuals who have the time, energy and desire to help our club help itself. We’re looking to put together a fundraising committee that will explore, implement and coordinate fundraising efforts,” he said.

Anyone interested in supporting the Hicksville Boys & Girls Club, should contact Tom Bruno at 822-7594 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Over at Central Nassau Guidance & Counseling, “lower than usual donations are expected this year as a result of the economic downturn’s impact on families and businesses in Nassau and Suffolk counties,” the agency’s CEO Barbara Bartell, LCFW told the Hicksville Illustrated News. “Community support is needed to help fill in some of the gaps we have experienced as a result of reduced funding on the federal, state and county levels,”

This year, Central Nassau is in need of new toys for children 6-12 years of age as well as non-perishable food, individual food baskets and even holiday decorations. Additionally, assistance to repair the parking lot and install a new roof at its South Oyster Bay Road location is needed and volunteers to work in the agency’s Gift Shop and Pretty New Thrift Shop in Farmingdale, as well as serve as drivers for clients, are also in demand.

Most importantly, said Bartell, the community can help by donating whatever they can. “We gratefully accept food for our pantry, gently used clothing, furniture and cash donations - any amount is greatly appreciated,” she said.

To help Central Nassau Guidance & Counseling this holiday season, contact Diane Bythrow, the agency’s United Way liaison, at 822-6111, ext. 227 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

In addition to the aforementioned Hicksville non-profits, the following United Way of Long Island affiliated agencies are in need of assistance this holiday season:

• Coalition Against Child Abuse and Neglect (Garden City): Needs new toys for infants-pre-teen; new winter clothing, including jackets, tops and pants for infants–teens; individual food baskets; holiday decorations. Conducts Adopt A Family program. Contact Nicole Gonzalez at 747-2966, ext. 4604 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

• EAC, Inc. (Hempstead): Needs new toys for children newborn-15 years; new coats for children; proceeds of food drives; individual food baskets. Contact Lance Elder at 539-0150, ext. 101 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

• Family and Children’s Association (Mineola): Needs new toys for children all ages; new clothing for children all ages and adults, especially socks, underwear, pajamas, robes, sweatshirts, sweatpants and sweaters; individual food baskets; proceeds of food drives; holiday decorations; drug store/ supermarket gift cards. Conducts an Adopt A Family program. Contact Mary Chiz at 746-0350, ext. 336 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or Marisa Paladino at 746-0350, ext. 364.

• FEGS Health and Human Services System (Syosset): Needs new toys for children 10-18 years; new clothing for teens any size; new sweaters (ladies sizes L/XL and mens sizes L/XL/XXL); proceeds of food drives; individual food baskets. Conducts an Adopt A Family program. Contact Debbie Weiss at 496-7550, ext. 225 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

• North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center (Roslyn Heights): Needs new toy donations for children ages 6-16 years; new sweatshirts for boys/girls (ages 6-16); individual food baskets; holiday decorations; paper goods (plates/table cloths/cups/utensils, etc.). Contact Margo Posillico Messina at 626-1971, ext. 370 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

• Society of St. Vincent de Paul (Bethpage): Needs new toys for children of all ages; new and gently used clothing for children and adults; proceeds of coat drives; proceeds of food drives; individual food baskets. Conducts an Adopt A Family program. Contact Melissa Scarlata at 822-3132 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

• YES Community Counseling Center (Massapequa): Needs new toys for children of any age (especially those 10-16); holiday decorations. Conducts an Adopt A Family program. Contact Mark Wenzel at 799-3203 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

For a complete list of Nassau County agencies in need, visit http://www.united wayli.org/holiday_wish_list.asp.