New York Cares Winter Wishes

Make sure children and teens receive gifts next holiday season.

Thanks to many, many generous New Yorkers like you, nearly 40,000 children, teens, and seniors have had their holiday wishes granted this year! Thank you so much for your support!

Journey of a Letter

Step One

Our Community Partners (which include schools, churches, shelters, and many other service organizations) help their clients write holiday gift and request letters. Stickers and glitter encouraged!

Step Two

Thousands of letters arrive at our office. New York Cares staff and volunteers read and process the letters so they can be matched with volunteers who will grant the wishes. Elf hats optional!

Step Three

Volunteers can register to grant wishes as individuals or in groups and can take anywhere from one to hundreds of letters. Each letter comes with approximately a $40 commitment. 

Step Four

Volunteers mail the holiday gifts directly to our Community Partners using the address provided on the back of each letter. The Community Partners distribute the gifts to their clients, who enjoy a happy holiday knowing that someone in New York cares! See one partner's story below.


“Last year I asked for two dolls and art supplies because I enjoy drawing. I’m grateful that I received them.”
Cherisse Alaverez, Age 10


“I love to act and dance ballet, tap, and praise dance. But I don’t know what to ask for because I never receive anything, maybe a doll. I’m just happy to be a part of it.”
Meoka Brown, Age 11

Community Partner Profile: Children of Promise

Children of Promise, NYC (CPNYC), a community-based organization located in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, provides ongoing support and opportunities for children of incarcerated parents to build meaningful relationships, explore new educational opportunities, and express themselves creatively and emotionally. As the vision of two sisters, Sharon Content and Monique Newton, Children of Promise aims to break the cycle of intergenerational incarceration rates by providing children with continuity, a safe space, and an easier transition process for the family as a whole as they adjust and re-adjust to change. Since 2009, CPNYC has provided services to over 200 children between the ages of 6-18, empowering young people to speak openly about their family histories in a safe, nurturing and strength-based environment. CPNYC currently provides comprehensive educational enrichment activities, and one-to-one mentoring.

A Deeper Partnership

New York Cares began its partnership with CPNYC in 2010 and has brought programs like Reading Buddies and Youth Authors to their after-school program. Reading Buddies, provides children with enriching literacy experiences through reading and craft activities. While Young Authors, helps students in grades 3-8 discover the joys of creative writing by developing personal memoirs, poetry, short stories and more. The partnership has only deepened as CPNYC joined the 200 partners that New York Cares works with for the Winter Wishes program.

Granting Wishes

Winter Wishes is one of New York Cares' longest running events. This program serves as an opportunity for generous New Yorkers to fulfill a holiday wish of some of the most underserved in the city. During the 2012 holiday season, New York Cares was able to distribute 39,000 Winter Wishes letters from children across the city to be granted by caring New Yorkers. Kara Mauro, Mental Health Clinician and Mentor Program Coordinator at CPNYC expressed her gratitude for the on-going partnership.

“Without the Winter Wishes program the kids at Children of Promise would not see a gift during the holidays”, she says.

This is the time of the year they look forward to the most; the organization makes it a priority to bring the holiday cheer into the building with decorations, a holiday party, and Santa. New York Cares volunteers have always helped in shaping the holiday event to make it a memorable experience for the children.