Helping The Needy: How to Volunteer and Donate to Help Your Fellow New Yorker in Need

where to volunteer and donate new york

How to Volunteer and Donate to Help Your Fellow New Yorker in Need

Many of us are counting our blessings in what has been a trying year. The pandemic has created new hardships and continuing challenges for our most vulnerable neighbors and for many New Yorkers. If looking to volunteer or donate this season and into the New Year, here are organizations that are in need and can use a helping hand.

Psst…Check out our post on Family Holiday Traditions: Bring Extra Magic to Your Holiday Season


Relief for Restaurant Workers

The pandemic hurt many businesses in New York, and the restaurant industry is one of the hardest to be hit. Now that the pandemic is starting to slow down, ROAR is now in the process of creating a 501(c)(3) to fund a holistic suite of Health and Wellness Services to support New York City’s community of restaurant workers. This will offer deeply discounted (or free) health care, mental health care, financial planning services, and much more to restaurant workers.  

Help Deliver Contactless Deliveries to the Most Vulnerable

We all know how darn hard it was to get to a market at the beginning of the pandemic. Many of us couldn’t leave the kids, and bringing them to the market was not ideal. Imagine if you are unable to get out at all? Invisible Hands is a non-profit where if you are healthy, practicing social distancing, and Covid-free, you can help your community by performing deliveries in New York. First, you join; afterward, once you set up the Slack community channel that services your area, you can start shopping for a person in need. Kind of like InstaCart, but free for the person in need, and you give the gift of your time to your community. Win-win for all. 

Give NYC Women and Girls Much Needed Feminine Hygiene and Feminine Products

Shop Food Bank NYC’s Amazon Wish List helps provide feminine hygiene products and other essentials for the city’s 1 million women and girls living in poverty. Make sure after you add to your cart to check the shipping address to deliver to Food Bank For New York City ATTN: Receiving’s Gift Registry Address.

Volunteer and Help Frail New Yorkers via Citymeals on Wheels

Citymeals on Wheels has volunteer opportunities to deliver meals, help in the kitchen, make homemade cards, and check in on frail New Yorkers. 

Donate Your Time and Pack up Food

City Harvest is New York City’s largest food rescue organization that feeds more than 1.5 million New Yorkers. Volunteers are needed to help pre-pack produce and pantry packs for easy distribution to City Harvest partner agencies and their Mobile Markets. Check here to read their Covid safety protocols, policies, and procedures. 

Give the Gift of Warmth by Donating a Coat

In the past, you may have seen the bins where a gently worn coat could be deposited and then given to New Yorker in need. This year the New York Care Coat Drive will be receiving donations directly via their community partners. It is pretty easy; using this map, you find the nearest drop-off spot, the coats they need are listed, and drop off a washed (in high temperature) coat. Make sure you call ahead to ensure the community partner is open and still accepting coats. Can’t drop off? A donation of $20 will provide one coat for a New Yorker in need. 

Volunteer and Help Cook or Deliver Meals

God Love, We Deliver-Covid Free Volunteers are needed to help cook, package, and deliver meals; you can also sponsor a Holiday Meal if you are refraining from physically volunteering right now. 

Drop Food, Clothing, and other Essentials Off at These Community ‘Stores’

You may have spotted a refrigerator at a corner or a street nook. Most are colorful; all are filled with free food and designated areas for dry and can foods. These fridges were a lifeline to many last year in the height of the pandemic. These community-led refrigerators are still helping many New Yorkers throughout the Boros. Popular drop off’s are produce items, grains, fruits, and even baby food. 

While some are known only within the community — fridges from  A New World In Our Heartsgreenpointfridge and the friendly fridge can be found via Instagram. On IG, you can find updates, info on arrival, or what is needed in their area and throughout the city. 

Another way to give is at some of the free stores popping up around the city. While many are not formal ‘stores,’ neighbors help each other by leaving free items for the take. Organizations like the North Brooklyn Free Store are opening up chain-like stores that offer the opportunity to donate your cherished clothing, books, school supplies, and other essentials for people in need. 


Relevant Directory Listings

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Athletic Association of Yorkville Youths

<p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;" data-sheets-value="{" data-sheets-userformat="{">Serving the families and children of NYC for over 50 years with high-quality recreational activities that foster life-lessons which empower young people to succeed beyond sports. Our programs encourage positive attitudes and growth through teamwork and sportsmanship, attendance, fair play, respect, hard work, integrity and fun. Your child can participate in clinics and leagues in such sports as baseball, basketball, flag-football, lacrosse, soccer, hockey, wrestling, track, and tennis. We also offer weekly dodgeball tournaments, drama and musical theater workshops, and after school programs.</span></p>

Studio E Art Classes

<p>Art, drawing, illustration, painting, and pottery.  Studio E Art Classes for ages 2 ½ to adult offers a creative space to find joy and rest in the creative arts. 7-week sessions are available for all classes, or just drop into a class to give it a try.</p> <p>Studio E Art is a great place to schedule a birthday party, celebration, scout troop activity, fundraiser and more.  Summer camps for children and tweens are available for half or full day in art or pottery.</p> <p>Find a complete list of classes, descriptions, and times on our <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">website</a>, or give us a call at 631-744-4001</p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.295; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 8pt;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-bc02a8ce-7fff-3ce7-fefb-13163f0a79b6"></span></p> <p dir="ltr" style="line-height: 1.2; margin-top: 0pt; margin-bottom: 0pt;"><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: Calibri,sans-serif; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;"><span id="docs-internal-guid-2e621915-7fff-f490-fe96-ea466c05ebda"></span></span></p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-eef1d235-7fff-f52c-632b-0a2c03581014"></span></p>

Instituto Cervantes

<p><span class="" style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Arial;" data-sheets-value="{" data-sheets-userformat="{">Children and teenagers learn to understand and express themselves in Spanish, while improving their communication skills through a dynamic immersion program taught by NATIVE TEACHERS that combines CLASSES, ARTISTIC WORKSHOPS and FUN ACTIVITIES! All of our high-qualified teachers are native Spanish speakers who adapt the structure of the class to the needs and levels of each group while conducting the classes entirely in Spanish. We offer both Spanish Summer Camps and Regular Courses for children along the year to foster language learning and multicultural understanding.</span></p>