A Guide to New York City Volunteering

A Guide to New York City Volunteering
Getty Images

A Guide to New York City Volunteering

Volunteering in NYC helps teach kids the value of what they have and why it’s important to help those who may not have as much. It also helps build strong family bonds as you work together as a family to do good. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, giving back spreads goodwill and joy to the community. 

In a city as large as New York, finding ways to volunteer as a family can be a little difficult. It’s the double-edged sword of New York City living. Everything is here, but that means EVERYTHING is here.

Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of the best places for New York City volunteering as a family. This borough by borough list will help you find the perfect way to give back. 

Psst… Here’s a Guide to Cold Weather Safety as temperatures drop. 

Manhattan

New York Cares – Financial District

65 Broadway, 19th Floor, NY, NY 10006
212-228-5000

New York Cares is an excellent vehicle for giving back with your family. Children ages 14 and up can join up with an adult group leader for a variety of activities, while family-friendly projects are available for everyone to take part in, even the younger kids. 

Ages: All ages

Food Bank for New York City – Financial District

39 Broadway, 10th Floor, NY, NY 10006
212-566-7855 ext. 5

This organization provides support to the underserved across New York.

To help them with their many charitable endeavors, they accept volunteers of all ages. Even kids as young as 5 are welcome for the organization’s Weekend Repack to help sort donated and bulk items into specific categories. 

Ages: Five years old and up

Toys for Tots – Across Manhattan

888-848-2596

One of the easiest ways to participate in New York City volunteering is to do it on your own.

Parents and their children can give back together by donating toys to Toys for Tots. Take the kids and make a day of purchasing requested toys and donating them to your local Toys for Tots drop-off center. 

Ages: All ages

God’s Love We Deliver – SoHo

166 Avenue of the Americas, NY, NY 10013
212-294-8100

Offering a variety of ways for families to do good as a family, God’s Love We Deliver offers all manner of charitable opportunities from seasonal to year-round. 

Children 16 and over can help with activities like packing and serving. Those 18 and older can make meal deliveries. Meanwhile, children younger than 16 can participate in Crafting Love projects like making beaded bracelets and birthday and holiday cards. 

Ages: All ages

New York Common Pantry – East Harlem

8 East 109th Street, NY, NY 10029
917-720-9700

Giving back as a family by volunteering at New York Common Pantry is a great way to do good.

This pantry depends on volunteer help to allow its continued distribution of thousands of meals yearly. Children ages 16 and up are welcome and can help with the distribution of pantry items, meal service, or pantry item packing. 

Ages: 16 and up

Friends of Governors Island – Financial District

10 South Street, Slip 7, NY, NY 10007

Friends of Governors Island only accepts volunteers who are 16 or over, so this New York City volunteering opportunity is limited to those with older children.

It’s a wonderful way to enjoy time outdoors, stay active, and help one of the most beautiful spots in NYC stay beautiful. 

Ages: 16 and over

Partnerships for Parks – Across Manhattan

212-360-1399

Partnerships for Parks is devoted to helping neighborhood parks thrive. A diverse network of dedicated park volunteers continues to expand, making it possible to do more to restore and revive parks across the city.

This joint program of City Parks Foundation and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation is always looking for more volunteers. 

Ages: All ages

Jewish Association Serving the Aging (JASA) – Garment District

247 West 37th Street, New York, NY 10018
212-273-5200

Accepting volunteers of all ages, the JASA offers a variety of services that help improve the lives of seniors across the city.

Offering everything from meals to legal services, the JASA is committed to empowering and embracing the elderly community of New York. 

Ages: All ages

Carter Burden Network – Lenox Hill

415 E. 73rd St., NY, NY 10021
212-423-9665 ext. 423

Another excellent resource for New York City volunteering as a family, the Carter Burden Network offers a variety of services to seniors and their families, including grocery shopping, computer training, and more. The organization accepts both adult and youth volunteers. 

Ages: All ages

Brooklyn

Toys for Tots – Across Brookyln

888-848-2596

One of the easiest ways to participate in New York City volunteering is to do it on your own.

Parents and their children can give back together by donating toys to Toys for Tots. Take the kids and make a day of purchasing requested toys and donating them to your local Toys for Tots drop-off center. 

Ages: All ages

Partnerships for Parks – Across Brooklyn

212-360-1399

Partnerships for Parks is devoted to helping neighborhood parks thrive. A diverse network of dedicated park volunteers continues to expand, making it possible to do more to restore and revive parks across the city.

This joint program of City Parks Foundation and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation is always looking for more volunteers. 

Ages: All ages

City Harvest – Borough Park

150 52nd Street, Brooklyn, NY 11232
 646-412-0600

City Harvest’s farmers market-style distribution centers provide fresh produce to those in need across all five boroughs of the city.

Along with other activities, they promote more food being used and less wasted. City Harvest offers volunteer opportunities for both adults and youth.

Ages: Check their volunteer FAQs for specifics.

Gallop NYC – Prospect Park

Prospect Park, corner of Canton Ave. & Coney Island Ave
855-925-5661

If your children are 16 and over, and you love horses, Gallop NYC is an excellent opportunity for Volunteering in New York City as a family.

This group offers therapeutic horseback riding to children and adults with developmental, emotional, social, and physical challenges. Volunteers can help in a variety of ways, and training is provided. 

Ages: 16 and over

Queens

Toys for Tots – Across Queens

888-848-2596

One of the easiest ways to participate in New York City volunteering is to do it on your own.

Parents and their children can give back together by donating toys to Toys for Tots. Take the kids and make a day of purchasing requested toys and donating them to your local Toys for Tots drop-off center. 

Ages: All ages

Citymeals On Wheels – Across Queens

212-687-1234

Citymeals On-Wheels provides food and companionship to New York City’s elderly. The organization is a great one for giving back because they accept volunteers of all ages.

Ages: All ages

Grow NYC Greenmarkets – Wallabout

Washington Park &, Dekalb Ave., 212-788-7900

Grow NYC Greenmarkets are throughout New York City where families can donate their gently used clothing, shoes, and textiles. Practice giving back as a family by going through closets and donating items that you and your kids never use. 

Ages: All ages

Partnerships for Parks – Across Queens

212-360-1399

Partnerships for Parks is a city-wide initiative aimed at restoring and maintaining neighborhood parks so everyone can have green spaces to enjoy. 

Ages: All ages

Queens Botanical Garden – Flushing

43-50 Main Street, Flushing, NY 11355
718-886-3800

Queens Botanical Garden makes giving back as a family easy.

Their routine volunteer opportunities are made to accommodate ages ranging from 14 to adults, while younger children can help out at seasonal community days if they’re accompanied by an adult. Opportunities range from planting to office work. 

Ages: All ages

Gallop NYC – Forest Hills

88-03 70th Road, Forest Hills, NY 11375
855-925-5661

As previously mentioned, Gallop NYC offers a variety of opportunities for New York City volunteering for people 16 and up. That service is focused on helping people with physical, mental, and emotional developmental roadblocks. 

Ages: 16 and up

Bronx

While the majority of family-based opportunities for New York City volunteering are in the other boroughs, the Bronx does have a variety of volunteer opportunities for adults. Check any of the cross-Borough programs above to find out about their opportunities in the Bronx.

City-Wide

Citymeals On Wheels

212-687-1234

Providing food and company to housebound elderly across New York City, Citymeal On Wheels is a volunteer group accepting volunteers of all ages to help hand-deliver meals.

Kids can get involved by writing cards and letters, helping to prepare meals, and more. The organization is a great one for giving back because they accept volunteers of all ages and from all across New York City. 

Ages: All ages

Partnerships for Parks

212-360-1399

Partnerships for Parks is devoted to helping neighborhood parks thrive. A diverse network of dedicated park volunteers continues to expand, making it possible to do more to restore and revive parks across the city.

This joint program of City Parks Foundation and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation is always looking for more volunteers. 

Ages: All ages

So Many Opportunities for New York City Volunteering As a Family

All it takes is a click or a phone call to start teaching your kids the importance of giving back. Most of the organizations we just listed accept children of various ages, so it should be easy to find a way for New York City volunteering that fits your family.

It’s better to give than to receive so use this list to help you find the joy of giving back as a family!