December in the Hudson Valley is a magical time—in the weeks following Thanksgiving, glittering lights, holiday décor, and the occasional snow flurry transform the region’s towns and cities into postcard-perfect visions. As people flock to local shops and markets in search of the perfect gift for their loved ones, many Hudson Valley nonprofits are hard at work to bring holiday cheer to the communities they serve. If you want to do more with your presents this holiday season, consider choosing gifts that give back.
We’ve rounded up some of the local organizations whose work is making the Hudson Valley a better place for those who live here.
Greystone Programs’ Leap for Autism
Greystone Programs in Hopewell Junction, which supports children, adults and families living with autism and other developmental disabilities, is gearing up for its fifth annual Leap for Autism Event. The event, to be held in May 9, 2020, raises funds for programming through the “leap” of skydiving, where participants must raise $500 to qualify for the 13,500-foot skydive. This holiday season, consider funding a leap for the thrill-seeker in your life, giving them an exciting personal adventure that also supports the people served by Greystone Programs.
Astor Services for Children & Families: With You Lockets
Another jewel of an idea comes from Astor Services for Children & Families, which provides behavioral and educational services for thousands of children and their families throughout the Bronx and the Mid-Hudson Valley. Consider shopping the Astor Collection of locket jewelry, created with partner With You Lockets of Red Hook. These sweet, whimsical lockets features drawings by children served by Astor, created through the organization’s therapeutic Expressive Arts Program. Each locket can hold a photo of a loved-one, good friend, or favorite pet, while supporting the good work of Astor.
Unshattered: Handcrafted Handbags
Accessories are a holiday gift classic, but instead of braving the mall to find a commercial model, check out the handmade, repurposed collection of handbags, shaving kits, wallets, and more from Unshattered. The Hopewell Junction-based nonprofit employs women who are in recovery from addiction, teaching them to create their specialty handbags from formerly discarded pieces of fabric and recycled materials, giving new life to scraps in much the same way the organization gives new purpose to the women employed there.
Dutchess County SPCA: Paws for a Cause Thrift Shop
What do you get for the person who has everything? There’s nothing quite like a one-of-a-kind thrift shop score. Head to the Dutchess County SPCA’s (DCSPCA) Paws for a Cause Thrift Shop, which offers a range of collectibles and heirlooms, gently used clothing, furniture, books, art, household gadgets, CDs, videos, kitchenware, and tchotchkes. Run by dedicated volunteers, all sales from the thrift shop directly support the agency’s mission to shelter and secure homes for animals and to enforce humane law throughout Dutchess County.
Found My Animal
Have you got a bleeding heart in the family? The sturdy, handsome, nautical-style leashes and collars by Kingston-based company Found My Animal are made one-by-one using hand-spliced, marine-grade rope and brass hardware. Each leash is distinguished by a numbered brass tag that reads “FOUND,” a declaration of values and a celebration of pet adoption. Found My Animal’s full line of pet accessories include collars, leashes, harnesses, food bowls, and fashion. A portion of proceeds from every sale goes to support animal welfare and rescue organizations, and a whole section of their website dedicated to helping facilitate direct pet adoptions.