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Melanie McEvoy Zuhoski (second from left) currently leads the North Fork Breast Health Coalition, which provides support for local breast cancer patients. (Credit: Bill Landon)

It is easy to get wrapped up (and ribboned and taped) in the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping — but it feels nice to tumble down the rabbit hole of communal generosity. The altruistic sibling of Cyber Monday and Black Friday, Giving Tuesday is a day dedicated not to discounts and bargains, but to the currency of kindness.

Across the North Fork, there are several charities dedicated to providing a year-round support system to your neighbors in need. If the crush of seasonal commerce is starting to calcify your spirit, here’s our list of organizations that you can support on this day of giving and throughout the holiday season. 

North Fork Animal Welfare League | 165 Peconic Lane, Peconic and 324 Church Lane, Aquebogue

Food and toys are on the Secret Santa lists for all kinds of pets. (Photo courtesy of North Fork Animal Welfare League)

With locations in both the towns of Riverhead and Southold, the North Fork Animal Welfare League (NFAWL) is offering the chance to become a Secret Santa for an animal in need. Those interested in providing for a dog, cat, or even guinea pig can send an email to [email protected] or give them a call at 631-765-1811 to receive a personalized list of items for each potential pet. This event runs through Christmas Day and those participating are invited to visit the pet at the shelter, call in advance. 

North Fork Women | P.O. Box 804, Greenport

North Fork Women is committed to health advocacy and education for those in the LGBTQ community and develops activities and programs that foster the social and community life of lesbians on the North Fork. Inflation and repercussions from the pandemic have hit their programming hard, and North Fork Women is asking for donations to help them reach their financial goals as a part of their 2023 Year End Appeal. The event kicked off yesterday, Monday, Nov. 27 and runs through Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024. Donations can be made here.

CAST | 53930 Main Road, P.O. Box 1566, Southold

It’s the busiest time of the year for the Center for Advocacy, Support and Transformation and there are plenty of ways you can donate to their cause. The ​​not-for-profit human services agency is a safety net for numerous residents in need of food, clothing, energy assistance, health care, housing and education across the North Fork. Donate to their food pantry and keep an eye out for donation bins across the North Fork for their annual Toy Drive. For a complete listing of desired items for both drives and where to donate call them at 631-477-1717 or email at [email protected]

East End Arts | 133 East Main Street133 East Main St., Riverhead

A gathering place for artists and art lovers, East End Arts aims to build up its community through cultural initiatives and programs while also partnering with government, civic groups, private businesses and more to ensure that the arts can continue to thrive throughout the region. This year, the organization is aiming to raise $90,000 in 90 days through its “Give It Up for the Arts” campaign. Residents and visitors alike are being asked to give up something small — like a cup of coffee or a night at the movies — and instead donate that saved amount to EEA’s mission. While the fundraiser started in October, East End Arts recently announced that the first $55,000 donated will be matched by generous donors — including the EEA board members themselves. To learn more, call their office at 631-727-0900 or send them an email at [email protected]

East End Arts fosters community, art and music education. (Photo credit: Nicholas Grasso)

Eastern Long Island Hospital Foundation | 201 Manor Place, Greenport

Stony Brook ELIH is a 90-bed, full-service community hospital committed to delivering patient care and meeting all the health needs of North Fork and Shelter Island residents. During their Giving Tuesday Campaign, donations will directly contribute to the health and happiness of the East End community. Find more information by calling (631) 477-5164. 

Butterfly Effect Project | 1018 Northville Turnpike, Riverhead

Tijuana Fulford, co-founder and executive director of The Butterfly Effect Project. (Photo credit: Northforker file photo)

The Butterfly Effect Project aims to empower young girls by giving them the tools to assist in achieving emotionally stable and self-confident futures, in hopes of bringing forth a generation of women who are strong, independent and knowledgeable. BEP has expanded beyond the East End, with over 17 chapters and 600 members across Long Island. On Giving Tuesday the organization is asking the community to donate hats, jackets and other winter necessities to their Winter Clothes Drive. Donations can be dropped off at the Riverhead office. Their “Adopt a Butterfly” campaign is also ongoing, where you have the chance to buy presents for a young girl or boy this holiday season. Both events end on Friday, Dec. 1. For more information call (631) 591-0759 or email [email protected]

Kait’s Angels | P.O. Box 1081, Mattituck 

Kait’s Angels (Photo courtesy of Katharine Schroeder)

“What’s raised on the North Fork, stays on the North Fork,” is the motto of Kait’s Angels’s Darla Doorhy. Indeed, this organization, geared toward helping empower young people in order to realize their full potential, puts all their funding into our local human resources and community members. Their year-round goal is to provide help to North Fork families and this Giving Tuesday, you can make donations for as little as $5 for those in need. Other tiers include a $25 meal for someone in need, a $50 gas card to help someone get to work, a $100 grocery store gift card, and a $250 donation can provide transportation for someone in the area dealing with a health issue. Donations can be made here and are open throughout the rest of the year as well. Contact them here

Peconic Bay Medical Center Foundation | 1300 Roanoke Ave., Riverhead

This foundation gives all donated proceeds to PBMC, allowing the hospital to bring world-class medical support to those across the East End. Contributions make it possible to expand their services and bring life-saving care to the over 250,000 men, women and children who require their services. For more information email them at [email protected] or call (631) 548-6080. 

East End Hospice | P.O. Box 1048 Westhampton Beach 

East End Hospice provides care for the terminally ill and their loved ones, regardless of income. Call 631-288-8400 to see how you can help them keep their good work going throughout the year.

Island Gift of Life Foundation | P.O. Box 532, Shelter Island Heights

Island Gift of Life Foundation provides financial assistance and other services to people with threatening illnesses who reside on the East End of Long Island. Learn more or make a donation at [email protected]

North Fork Breast Health Coalition |185 Old Country Road, Suite 6, Riverhead

The North Fork Breast Health Coalition is a group of volunteers working to encourage and assist in the prevention, early detection and cure of breast cancer through advocacy, awareness, networking and research. Contact them at 631-208-8889 or email [email protected]

Survivors and board members of the North Fork Breast Health Coalition. (Photo courtesy of North Fork Breast Health Coalition)

Maureen’s Haven | 28 Lincoln St., Riverhead 

The winter months are the hardest for those who are unhoused. Maureen’s Haven provides a safe, warm and temporary shelter to individuals from November through April. To see how you can help, call 631-727-6831. 

RISE Life Services | 901 E. Main St., Riverhead

This Riverhead-based organization supports those who are developmentally and/or physically disabled through a number of means. This multi-service organization provides residential programs, supported apartments, clinical support and case management for adults in need. Donations are accepted year-round and can be made in honor of Howard Munro, a resident who passed away this past October. All funding provides an array of different services, from art classes to purchasing furniture and even feeding an entire family. For more information, call  631-727-6220 or email [email protected]