These are difficult times, and we’re doing our best to keep Manhattan informed – which is why we’ve been putting out our daily COVID-19 newsletter (sign up here!).
As the situation around COVID-19 develops, so many New Yorkers want to serve their communities – it goes without saying that in so many cases, the best way to do so is just to stay home! But for those in healthy and safe enough conditions, the post below will be updated with information from our newsletter detailing opportunities to serve our neighbors through volunteering or calls for donation.
- Saturday (10/17) at 10 am, the Broadway Mall Association hosts a community clean-up of 110th – 122nd Sts. (meet at the Columbia University gate at 116th St. and Broadway). Register at email@example.com.
- Saturday (10/17) at 10 am, the Kips Bay Neighborhood Association hosts “It’s My Park Day” in Bellevue South Park (btwn E. 26th/28th Sts. and 2nd Ave./Mt. Carmel Pl.). Volunteers will plant and clean up the park.
- Saturday (10/17) at 11:30 am, Connectemonos hosts “It’s My Park,” a clean-up of Juan Bosch Plaza (Amsterdam Ave. and W. 190th St.). Click the title to register.
- Saturday (10/17) at noon, Art in the Park hosts a beautification of Alice Kornegay Triangle (E. 128th St. and Lexington Ave.). Register here.
- Saturday (10/17) at noon, Riverkeeper and Friends of Inwood Hill Park host “Dyckman Street Pier Cleanup” (meet at the Dyckman Marina, 348 Dyckman St.). Click the title to register.
- Sunday (10/18) at 11 am, Hell’s Kitchen Litter Legion hosts a neighborhood clean-up. Meet at 51st St. and 9th Ave.
- Tuesday (10/13) from noon – 5 pm, Council Speaker Corey Johnson hosts a Donation Drive for our Unhoused Neighbors, accepting new clothes, toiletries, school supplies and baby items at 224 W. 30th St., Suite #1206.
As budget cuts have reduced the frequency of trash pickups, volunteer efforts have popped up across Manhattan, many featured in this THE CITY article. Help keep the streets clean by joining a clean-up– my staff and I have participated in most of these:
- Hell’s Kitchen Litter Legion, Saturday (10/3) at 11:30 am, meet at 51st St. and 9th Ave.
- Columbus Park Clean-Up with Council Member Chin and the Chinatown Business Improvement District, Sunday (10/4) at 9:45 am, meet at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Statue (register at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-587-3159)
- OneBlock UWS, ongoing “adopt-a-block” effort
- 125th St. Business Improvement District, Tuesdays through October, 8 – 11 am
- Clean Up Your Block with Rep. Espaillat and Council Member Ayala, 10/10 at 10 am, meet at 105 E. 116th St. (register at email@example.com)
- Broadway Mall Association Community Clean-Ups, Saturdays 10/17 – 11/14 at 10 am
- Community Board 9’s Team Up to Clean Up West Harlem, 10/24 at 10 am (register by 10/14)
- Council Member Rodriguez’s Community Park Clean-Ups
Please email me if you learn of others!
- Apply to become a member of the NYC Community Emergency Response Team, which assists first responders with community preparedness and disaster support. Apply here.
- The Mayor delayed Monday’s start of in-person instruction (except for 3k, pre-k and District 75 students) until Tuesday 9/29, when K-5 and K-8 schools will start. Then, later that week on Thursday, 10/1 middle and high school students start. (Fully remote instruction started yesterday, 9/16, and will continue until “blended learning” starts.)
So my first-day-of-school “Day of Action,” originally scheduled for this Monday’s start of in-person school, will now occur on 9/29. Every year, my staff and volunteers distribute useful information to families arriving for the first day of school. This year, we’ll be distributing “COVID kits” (including masks and hand sanitizer) on the first day (9/29) of this most unusual school year.
Volunteer online here to help us distribute kits at your nearest public school (or call my office 212-669-8300 if you lack internet).
If you’ve already signed up to volunteer, THANK YOU! My interns will contact you to confirm the new details.
(Traditionally we’ve hosted a thank-you brunch after our early-morning work; when we can all gather in person again, I will host a very special one!)
- Interested in changing a life? This school year, especially, so many students need help in math, reading and writing. The Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan is recruiting virtual tutors for one or more 40-minute sessions each week (at various times each day) with students performing below grade level in grades K-12; tutors can be 14 or older and are vetted by the Dept. of Education.
This past summer, as a direct result of my encouragement, the JCC piloted a virtual tutoring program with 260 tutors helping students in nine public elementary schools who needed to catch up/keep up with academic skills during the period when students usually suffer the “summer slide.”
Complete the JCC’s school year registration form here. Orientation sessions will be offered via Zoom during the week of 9/28, and tutoring will begin 10/14. For additional information, please email Judy Gross, Director of Literacy and Math Programs at the JCC (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Adopt an Upper West Side block to clean up twice a week through OneBlock UWS, a volunteer-based response to City Dept. of Sanitation service cuts.
- Next Thursday (9/24) at 1 pm, sew clear masks and then donate them during Virtual Sewing Fest, hosted by Adaptive Design Association. Find information about registering, getting mask-making materials and donating the masks you sew here.
- Become a Climate Week Virtual Volunteer, 9/21 – 9/25. The Climate Museum offers volunteer opportunities for all ages. Register by 9/18 through the above Virtual Volunteer link.
- Saturday (9/12) at 10 am, join a Broadway clean-up from W. 135th – 145th Sts., sponsored by the Broadway Mall Association. Meet at Lyn-Genet’s Kitchen (Broadway btwn W. 141st and 142nd Sts.).
- Volunteer for DOROT’s Rosh Hashanah Package Delivery and 9/11 Day of Service and connect with Upper West Side seniors. Register here.
- Volunteer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, no prior art history background required. Email email@example.com to learn more.
- Saturday (8/29) at 10 am, join a Broadway clean-up between 135 – 145 Sts, sponsored by the Broadway Mall Association. Meet at Lyn-Genet’s Kitchen (3473 Broadway btwn 141 and 142 Sts.).
- Wednesday (9/2) 8 am – 6 pm, donate blood at City College (160 Convent Ave., North Academic Building, main floor Flex Room). Make an appointment online or at 646-300-5051. While I don’t agree with the FDA policy excluding gay men from donating blood unless they have been celibate for three months, those who are eligible to donate should– in order to help save lives.
- Volunteer to grow food with and for local residents with the East Harlem nonprofit Concrete Safaris. Register online to volunteer at Mad Fun Farm at Washington Houses (98th St. and 3rd Ave.) or Jefferson Gardens (114th St. and 2nd Ave.) through December.
- Volunteer with the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of the Community Service Society of New York. Become a virtual mentor to NYC youth in justice-involved families. Register for the Sept. 16 virtual mentor orientation by emailing Kbrown@cssny.org with your full name and phone number.
- Free school supplies will be given out in Washington Heights, Tuesday (8/18) 1 – 3 pm at Fresh Youth Initiatives (505 W. 171 St.) and in Harlem, Thursday (8/20) 1 – 3 pm at Salem United Methodist Church (2190 ACP Blvd).
To donate supplies, contact Fatoumata Diallo at firstname.lastname@example.org or (347) 610-2867.
- Recovered COVID-19 patients are needed to donate plasma, which is used to treat critically ill patients across the country. Donate at a NY Blood Center location. Eligible donors can give convalescent plasma up to eight times in a three-month period.
- Saturday (8/8) at 10 am, join me at the NY 13th Congressional District’s weekly cleanup. Meet at 207th St. and Broadway. RSVP to email@example.com.
- Make an appointment to donate blood tomorrow (8/4) at the NY Blood Center in Union Square, 27 Union Square West, Suite 302. While I don’t agree with the FDA policy excluding gay men from donating blood unless they have been celibate for three months, those who are eligible to donate should– in order to help save lives.
- Tomorrow (7/31) at 4 pm, join my Census Walking Tour in the Village– a low self-response area– to let residents know that they should fill out the census ASAP. We’ll hand out census swag and direct residents to Census Response Representatives to fill out the census onsite. Meet in front of 40 E. 14th Street near Whole Foods, and we’ll end the tour at Christopher Street Subway Station for festive music and more fun. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Week of 7/23
- Saturday (7/25) at 10 am, join me and our neighbors for a community clean-up of Broadway between 145th to 150th Streets. We’ll meet at Harlem Public, 3612 Broadway (it’s between 148th and 149th.)
- New York Foundation for Senior Citizens continues to offer home sharing and respite care programs.
- Volunteers are needed to assist seniors and those with disabilities at the “Get Off Our Necks” Commitment March, sponsored by the National Action Network and a coalition of groups, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C on Friday, August 28. Email NYC Chapter Chair of the Disabilities Committee Naomi Jones.
Week of 7/13
- The City Dept. of Sanitation is seeking vendors to deliver meals as part of the Older Adult Emergency Food Access Program. See an FAQ here (PDF) and the bid document here (PDF). The deadline to apply is July 21 at 4 pm.
- The Salvation Army, Doctors Without Borders, and the Coalition for the Homeless are running mobile hygiene and resource locations for homeless New Yorkers. Learn more.
Tomorrow (7/10) at 10 am, businesses and nonprofits are asked to participate in the “Make New York City Count” campaign. It’s simple: at 10 am, employers set aside 10 designated minutes for their employees to complete the 2020 Census. A complete census count is important for everything in our city, from schools to food to transportation!
In Manhattan we’ve hit 54.7% census form completion! Thanks to everyone who’s completed their census form. Here’s an overview of response rates:
57.5% for New York State,
53.1% for New York City,
50.3% for Brooklyn,
58.3% for Staten Island,
53.1% for Queens,
54.5% for the Bronx,
and 54.7% for Manhattan!
- The City’s Test and Trace Corps will provide funding to community-based organizations to help with promoting testing and tracing for COVID-19, for use in outreach and education programs relating to testing, tracing, and safety measures like mask use and physical distancing. The request for proposals deadline is this Monday, July 13.
- NYC & Company has released a Stay Well NYC Pledge, a set of recommended health and safety practices for businesses and consumers.
- The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has released a survey in nine languages for New Yorkers 18 and older on the effects of the pandemic. The data will be free to view at SpeakUpOnCovid.org.
- I read with interest “The Nursing Home Card Project” in Our Town last week, and thought you all should see it, too. Founded by my constituent Rachel Bennett on the Upper West Side, the Project is an initiative to fight loneliness in nursing homes, which were allowed no visitors during the pandemic, by sending homemade cards to senior residents. Sign up to make and send cards at caringbycard.com.
- The City’s Commission on Gender Equity has shared a short survey for New York City residents ages 18 and older to help inform an equitable recovery from COVID-19 in NYC.
- The nonprofit group Citizens Committee for New York City has shared an “NYC Summer Well Being” survey to determine their next steps around youth engagement and police-community relations.
Two upcoming uptown blood drives from the New York Blood Center:
On June 15, from 8 am – 6 pm: Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine (1047 Amsterdam Ave.). Click here to make an appointment, or call (800) 933-2566.
On June 24, from 8 am – 6 pm: City College of New York, NAC Building, Flex Room (180 Convent Ave.). Click here to make an appointment, or call (800) 933-2566.
- The wealth redistribution group Resource Generation has released a form for those who have received a pandemic EBT benefit and would like to redistribute the funds to food insecure families in NYC. Register here.
NYC Emergency Management is looking to expand its inventory of cooling centers for vulnerable New Yorkers to visit during heat emergencies with proper social distancing. Eligible centers must:
Be free and open to the general public
Have air conditioning
Have enough space for visitors to sit while maintaining social distance
Have restrooms and water
Cleaned and disinfected regularly
If you or someone you know can offer a facility that meets these criteria, to be used as a Cooling Center this summer, please complete this survey.
- The Chinatown Partnership and the Chinatown Business Improvement District are hosting a GoFundMe for businesses damaged and looted during protests. All funds raised will go towards the replacement of damaged glass for small businesses (i.e. no large institutions, chains or banks).
- Essex Market, the municipal market on Delancey St., is doing amazing work providing free, fresh groceries to homebound seniors and at-risk families in their neighborhood. The need is immense. Past delivery locations have included Grand Street Settlement’s food pantry (serving 800+ families weekly), the Hong Ning House for the Elderly, Frances Golden Senior Housing, and the Seward Park Extension food pantry supporting NYCHA residents. Learn more about Essex Market’s efforts here.
- If you haven’t yet, fill out the CovidWatcher survey from my friend Ester Fuchs and the Columbia School of International and Public Affairs. Completing it helps prepare open data to guide policy on neighborhood services, the spread of COVID-19, and local access to both care and testing.
- The GetFood Delivery Assistance Program is seeking nonprofit providers for meal preparation with a focus on culturally sensitive meals and ethnic foods, to staff and serve as distribution sites, and to facilitate home meal delivery. Visit nyc.gov/nonprofits for more information on the program or learn more about the role here.
- The City is still hiring contact tracers to reach out to the contacts of those diagnosed with COVID-19 to track the spread. Learn more, and apply here.
- The Word Up Bookstore, the iconic Upper Manhattan nonprofit bookstore, has established a GoFundMe to help maintain their space, salaries, and other obligations until they can safely reopen after the pandemic. Donations are 100% tax-deductible.
- Jobs available! Both the City and State are hiring employees and supervisors for contact tracing: reaching out to the contacts of those diagnosed with COVID-19 to track the spread. Learn more here for the City (three types of contract tracer jobs along with many non-tracing jobs listed), and here for the State (contact tracers, team supervisors, and community support specialists).
- Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday, and so many local nonprofit organizations are struggling for funding as they work tirelessly to serve our communities. These are tough times for us all, but I encourage everyone to choose and lend your support to one of the many organizations supporting us all through this crisis.
- Tomorrow (5/5) from 2 – 3 pm, the New York Immigration Coalition, one of the leaders of the NY Counts 2020 Coalition, will guide a Census Ambassador training to help volunteers communicate the importance of the census and get involved with outreach. Sign up here.
- The Grand Central Neighborhood Social Services Corporation is committed to providing immediate relief to Midtown Manhattan’s homeless population through their Mainchance Drop-In Center at 120 East 32nd Street (off the 6 train stop at 33rd Street). They offer everything from basic necessities like clothing, showers, and three meals a day, to a range of social services for clients at various levels of need. To learn more, please call (212) 883-0680 ext. 108, or email email@example.com.
- Pets + Elders Together, a program from the Search and Care nonprofit that pairs seniors with both pet companions and volunteer “Pet Pros” to assist in caring for the pets, is seeking new volunteers as well as referrals of NYC pet owners aged 60+ in need of support. For more information, contact program coordinator Robin Strashun at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The NYC Fund for Public Health is now hiring people with health backgrounds to do COVID-19 contact tracing. Learn more at https://fphnyc.org/about/careers/ under “COVID-19 Jobs.”
- The Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center is looking for volunteer callers to help update their 59 Coronavirus NYC Neighborhood Food Resource Guides. These guides are essential to helping keep communities informed on everything from soup kitchens to farmers markets to available resources for families depending on the SNAP and WIC programs. If you are interested in volunteering, please email email@example.com with the subject line: “Volunteer for Food Resource Guides.”
- The nonprofit West Side Federation for Senior & Supportive Housing has issued a broad call for support: a drive for everything from volunteer support, to potential vendor connections, to donated foodstuffs, activity books, and technology. Click here to learn more and lend a hand.
- Politico published an interesting piece yesterday about the unorthodox ways the Census Bureau is reaching out to Americans. It turns out that the Text Out the Count campaign we’ve been promoting here is part of those efforts. Click on “Text Out the Count” to join one of the virtual “text banks” being held daily.
- You can help make sure every New Yorker gets counted! Sign up to join the new Text Out the Count campaign from the Census Bureau: there are virtual text banks being held daily.
- This year’s census is essential for making sure we don’t lose out on key resources: from schools to representation in Congress, so much depends on making sure every New Yorker gets counted. Since so many of us look for ways to do our part from home, one great way is to sign up and join the new Text Out the Count campaign from the Census Bureau: there are virtual text banks being held daily.
- Tomorrow (4/17) at 12:00 pm, the City Council is hosting a Town Hall focused on domestic violence, in partnership with the Korean American Family Service Center, Shalom Task Force, and Women for Afghan Women. Representatives from these organizations and the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence will be speaking and taking questions from the audience. Click here to join the online Zoom conference, or call in at (929) 205-6099 with code 100 025 841.
- Tomorrow, (4/16) volunteers are needed from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm to deliver boxes of fresh produce and other food supplies from City Harvest to residents of the Isaacs-Holmes public housing development at 92nd Street and 1st Avenue. If available, contact Greg Morris, 646-469-2683.
- iMentor, a nonprofit matching high school students to college-educated mentors, is seeking new mentors to work with students starting this fall (many of whom will need all the help they can get to recover academically from this pause). Interested applicants can learn more and apply here, or email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
- Emergency food organizations, from City Harvest to your neighborhood food pantry, are in serious need right now. Millions of New Yorkers rely on them to survive, but 1/3 of the city’s pantries have already closed during this crisis. Fundraising campaigns have ramped up and restaurants have donated millions of pounds of food, but there just aren’t enough volunteers to keep their doors open. In It Together NYC is a city-wide volunteer initiative that connects healthy, eligible New Yorkers to food pantries at risk of closing. They’ve signed up over 600 volunteers and sent them to the emergency food organizations that need them most.
- The CLOTH Food Pantry at 508 W. 159th St. has doubled its distribution hours. Now 9 am–1 pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Packaged food is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Additional volunteers are needed to unload the food trucks, pack and distribute bags: email email@example.com to lend a hand.
- Because I have my phone number at the bottom of these newsletters, I get calls. Boy, do I get calls! Most recently, I heard from First Robotics, a nonprofit, which wanted to donate 425 goggles that can serve as PPE for health care workers. I connected them to Metropolitan Hospital in East Harlem and got them delivered today (4/3/2020). I also fielded a call from an Upper West Sider who actually owns a mask-making plant in China, and we got 25,000 masks donated to the NYPD. And I heard from TikTok, the online video company, which donated 50,000 masks in total to Harlem Hospital and Elmhurst Hospital.I thank all these donors of vitally-needed equipment for reaching out; I was happy to play a small role in getting that equipment where it’s needed.
- The City launched the Help Now Portal this week to connect New Yorkers who need help to resources on employment, benefits, seniors, food security, NYCHA residents, mental health, and education– and to also give those who want to GIVE help a way to do so.
- The City of New York is seeking businesses with the ability to quickly source and/or make medical supplies and other products needed to support the City’s coronavirus response. If you are a supplier or distributor with access to a stock of ready-made supplies to sell, please complete this form: http://www.nyc.gov/covidsuppliers
If you are a manufacturer and able to create new products from scratch, please complete this form: https://nycedc.formstack.com/forms/covid19_support
- The New York Blood Center has this news:
-Their blood centers are no longer accepting walk-in customers; instead, you must make an appointment.
-If you have recovered from COVID-19 and are interested in giving plasma, please email your information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The NYC COVID Worker Care Network is up and running! They’re a self-organizing network of more than 2000 volunteer mental health workers, spiritual care providers, circle-keepers, and community-builders supporting frontline COVID workers during this evolving crisis. They facilitate individual support encounters, support groups, stress-reduction training, and grief rituals via Zoom or telephone encounters. Any person working to support the fight against COVID-19 in New York is eligible; sign up at the link above or follow @NYCCOVIDCare on Facebook for updates or send an email to email@example.com with any questions.
- The New York Blood Center has three locations open for blood donors:
Port Authority Midtown Donor Center 625 8th Ave. @ W 41st St., South Wing
Grand Central Donor Center 200 Park Ave., Lobby Level
Upper East Side Donor Center 310 East 67th St.
- Go to http://nyc.gov and click on “Produce or Donate Supplies” if you have goods to contribute to the City.
- Go to: http://nyc.gov/helpnownyc for ways you can (safely) volunteer to help fellow New Yorkers.
- The dedicated staff at the Stanley Isaacs Center, 415 E. 93 St., needs help supporting their older adult clients through meals and case management services. Interested in volunteering? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Met Council provides food assistance to over 180,000 of the City’s most vulnerable. To address the expanded needs in this current crisis; they need volunteers, too (especially drivers with vehicles or those who can assist as runners on home delivery) as well as funds to pay for transportation and food. For more information visit https://www.metcouncil.org/get-involved
- There are ways you can help keep City Harvest trucks on the road delivering essential food: Donate (now through April 17, their board is matching every dollar donated with two dollars of their own, tripling the impact of any donation). Volunteer: check their Volunteer Portal for upcoming opportunities. Follow them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and share their posts tagging City Harvest and #WeAreCityHarvest.
- Foodbank for New York City needs able and healthy volunteers to help prepare meals, pack food and other essentials.
- Here’s an interactive map for finding soup kitchens, food pantries, senior centers, or SNAP enrollment sites. https://www.foodbanknyc.org/get-help/
- Invisiblehandsdeliver.com is deputizing low-risk people to deliver shopping or goods to high-risk people. Visit their website to volunteer, or request a delivery.
- Musicians and performers are especially at risk with the cancellation/postponement of public performances. I have musicians on our staff, and one of them researched these links for anyone who falls into that category and needs help– or if you want to donate. The National Endowment for the Arts has posted this page for both artists and organizations.
Here are more specific links: https://equalsound.org/project/corona-relief-fund/ http://www.musiciansfoundation.org/apply/ https://www.grammy.com/musicares/get-help/musicares-coronavirus-relief-fund
- A reader sent me this Eater.com post about relief funds for restaurants, and I thought it worth publicizing.
- The Indie Theater Fund is offering unrestricted rapid relief grants to independent theater companies and individual artists in need due to the financial strain of COVID-19. They will be offering grants of up to $500 on an ongoing basis until funds run out. They are prioritizing companies and artists with budgets less than $250,000 and will be reviewing applications on a first come first serve basis. Visit the Indie Theater Fund info page here.
- If you have a large-ish space that might be suitable as a community location or health care screening site, the Office of Emergency Management wants to know about it. Send an email to email@example.com.