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Illustration by Ione Wang

For this Weekend lead—the last of the semester—we're taking a moment to step back and see what we can do to help out our fellow New Yorkers this holiday season. As all of us at Columbia scramble to turn in 10-page papers and cram for exams, it's easy to lose sight of the issues that carry more weight than our GPAs.

Below, you'll find a selection of letters from representatives of organizations that provide plenty of opportunities to give up some time and lend a hand—whether by donating a winter coat, gift wrapping in Brooklyn, or helping the city get back on its feet post-Sandy.

We see the Weekend section as a space for us to encourage readers to get off campus and explore the incredible city at our fingertips. Our goal, whether we're showcasing a new art exhibit or covering a music festival, is to inspire you to do something unexpected, rather than catching up on your Netflix queue or loitering in Butler.

Of course, it's impossible to feature every single cool happening that the five boroughs have to offer: Doing so would take up much more than four pages. Luckily, January will bring with it a whole new year of event-packed weekends for you to check out. As we bid farewell to another year of Spectator Weekends, we hope that our stories have entertained and enlightened you. We're sure your “to-do in New York” list has grown as long as ours.

Wishing you all the best,

Olivia Aylmer
Weekend Deputy Editor

Abby Mitchell
Arts & Entertainment Editor

Helping hands: Local organizations call on Columbians to volunteer their time

Community Lunch by Tausi wa-Dutumi
Food Bank for New York by Rachel Franz
Kraft Clothing Pantry by Mikey Schiff
Red Hook Initiative by Frances Medina
Olivia Aylmer Abby Mitchell
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