COVID-19 Response in New York City

Information compiled by helpNYC for our Neighbors in New York City

VOLUNTEERS: New York Needs You!

Tuesday, April 21, 2020 12:15pUpdated April 24, 2020Back to Index

Dear Neighbors,

I hope this email finds you well during this trying time.

While we have adjusted to this new normal for now, many New Yorkers are still struggling to meet their basic needs. Thousands of New Yorkers are depending on meals coming from one or more of the hundreds of Community Kitchens and Food Pantries across the five boroughs, and the need will grow further in the coming weeks.

Many of these private not-for-profit food assistance programs are closing or are in danger of closing, not as a result of money or food shortages, but for the lack of volunteers to staff their daily, weekly, and monthly programs. Most of the regular volunteers are older in age and have pre-existing conditions that make them high-risk for COVID-19 and normally any other gaps in volunteer staffing would be filled by episodic sign ups.

To protect their volunteers many programs have closed their doors because they haven’t been able to find volunteers that are low-risk, willing to leave their homes to volunteer, or even know that they can still volunteer safely.

If you are low-risk for COVID-19, you can make a difference and help essential programs in your neighborhood stay open!

Below are four great ways to get connected to the programs that need volunteers, today!

If you have any questions or ideas about how we can help please let me know.

New York needs you!


Joshua Parkin

Founder of helpNYC

Since 1987, New York Cares has been the go-to volunteer recruiter for New York’s not-for-profit organizations. They are now actively recruiting and training volunteers to help with food assistance programs that are affected by the COVID-19 crisis in New York City, among other opportunities both on the ground and virtually. Their organizations are following safety requirements and they have dedicated volunteer Team Leaders on site at the programs to support their volunteers.

Signup to volunteer by clicking here.

HUNGER FREE AMERICA (formerly known as the New York City Coalition Against Hunger) is a nonpartisan, national nonprofit group working to enact the policies and programs needed to end domestic hunger and ensure that all Americans have sufficient access to nutritious food. We are both a direct service and advocacy organization — with each component strengthening the other. In response to COVID-19, we are currently recruiting for both virtual and direct food assistance opportunities. All direct service sites listed with Hunger Free America have COVID-19 safety protocols in place which are outlined in the event.

Opportunities can be accessed here.

Manhattan Together and South Bronx Churches IAF are actively surveying people for volunteer positions at food assistance programs across New York City, in addition to other opportunities.. They are looking for volunteers of all abilities. Once a survey is completed they will review and connect the person with an organization.

Click here to fill out their survey.

Idealist has been connecting people with opportunities for social impact action for over 25 years. Primarily known as a jobs board for the nonprofit sector, Idealist also has a directory of Volunteering opportunities and community-based Mutual Aid Groups. Amid the current health emergency, they have added search filters for ‘virtual/remote” volunteering and ‘COVID-19’.

Click here to check out current impact opportunities at