Email This Post Email This Post Print This Post Print This Post


Everything I’ve Heard About: DONATIONS & VOLUNTEERING

These are difficult times, and we’re doing our best to keep Manhattan informed – which is why we’ve been putting out our 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.

Thursday, 6/24/21

  • Saturday (6/26) at 11 am, join a park cleanup at Sunshine Playground (E. 101st St. and 3rd Ave.), hosted by Friends of Sunshine Playground. Click here to volunteer.

Tuesday, 6/1/21

  • Donate books for the Open Street at E. 101st St. and Lexington Ave. Drop off books at the Open Street, Mojo Desserts (177 E. 100th), or the Lexington Pizza Parlour (1590 Lexington Ave.). Children’s books are especially needed.
  • Saturday (6/5) from 11 am – 5 pm, paint a community mural or join a clean-up with Uptown Grand Central’s Grandscale Mural Project. Meet at 125th St. and Lexington Ave. Register here.

Monday, 5/24/21

  • Tuesday (6/25) at noon, canvass local businesses with information about the City’s “Adopt-A-Basket” program, designed to help neighborhood litter baskets from overflowing, organized by Council Speaker Corey Johnson and the NYC Dept. of Sanitation. Meet at the NW corner of Bleecker St. and 6th Ave. Fill out this form to volunteer.

Monday, 5/10/21

Monday, 4/19/21

Monday, 4/12/21

  • Donate personal care items to fill the 700 gift bags Community Board 10 is presenting to seniors in Central Harlem next month. Click here to see the list of needed items.
  • Saturday (4/17) at 10 am, the Broadway Mall Association hosts a community clean-up of the malls from 135th – 155th Sts. Meet at Harlem Public (149th St. and Broadway). Email to register.
  • Sunday (4/18) at noon, join a “Spring Park Cleaning” in the South Village, Chelsea, and Hell’s Kitchen, hosted by Council Speaker Corey Johnson. Click the title to register.

Monday, 4/5/21

  • Volunteer registration is now open for NYS “I Love My Park Day,” a weekend of cleaning up, planting, and helping restore state parks, historic sites, and public lands. Register here.
  • Volunteer at the Battery Urban Farm and gardens.
  • The Riverside Food Pantry (The Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Drive btwn 120th and 122nd St.) accepts donations of non-perishable food items on Mondays from 9 am – 5 pm. Most-needed items include protein-rich foods such as peanut butter and canned tuna, and staples such as cereal, pasta, rice, soups, and beans.
  • Saturday (4/10) at 9 am, families are invited to volunteer at the Battery Urban Farm. Volunteers will plant, weed, spread mulch, harvest, and more. Register here.

Thursday, 4/1/21

  • Ryan Health is looking for qualified volunteers– physicians, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dentists, and other licensed medical providers– to administer the COVID vaccine at centers across Manhattan. Email to volunteer.
  • Donating blood won’t have any effect on a vaccinated person and won’t transfer any of the benefits of the vaccine, according to the Washington Post. There’s no need to wait to donate blood after getting vaccinated, and donating blood won’t weaken your post-vaccine protection. Even though COVID immunity wanes over time, blood donation won’t affect that. Unlike with pregnancy or breastfeeding, a pint of donated blood would contain only a negligible amount of antibodies– not enough to make an impact on a blood recipient.
    Sign up here to donate blood at a New York Blood Center drive. I don’t agree with the FDA policy excluding gay men from donating blood unless they have been celibate for three months, but those who are eligible to donate should, in order to help save lives. Our region’s blood supply is critically low.

Thursday, 3/18/21

  • Sunday (3/21) at 10 am, I’m partnering on a community clean-up of the Broadway malls from 96th – 106th Sts. with the Broadway Mall Association (meet at Metro Diner, 100th St. and Broadway). Email to register.

Thursday, 3/4/21

Thursday, 2/18/21

Thursday, 2/11/21

  • Students at P.S. 146 in East Harlem are in need of iPad chargers. If you’re able to donate, contact
  • Sunday (2/14) at 11 am, Hell’s Kitchen Litter Legion hosts a community clean-up. Meet at the northeast corner of 57th St. and 10th Ave.
  • Tuesday (2/16) from 5-7 pm, donate devices in good condition to Goddard Riverside and Community Board 7’s “Donate a Device” initiative for students. Drop off laptops, tablets, headphones, and chargers at Lincoln Square Neighborhood Center (250 W. 65th St.). Devices should be wiped of all personal information.

Thursday, 2/4/21

Thursday, 1/28/21

  • Helpers for COVID-19 is an organization that delivers essential goods to the immunocompromised. To volunteer, click here. To request deliveries, click here or call (862)-621-9614‬. Assistance is available in English, Hindi, Russian, Mandarin, Spanish, and Hebrew.

Thursday, 1/21/21

Thursday, 1/14/21

  • Students in Community School District 1 (Lower East Side) have remote learning devices but are in need of keyboards, headphones, and chargers for 6th generation iPad. If you’re able to donate any of these items, contact Elvis Marte at
  • Monday (1/18) throughout the day, volunteer to distribute masks and information about COVID-19 testing and vaccines during the National Day of Service. Register here.

Thursday, 1/7/21

Thursday, 12/31/20

  • The city’s blood supply is low, so please donate at a New York Blood Center location. 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. And New Yorkers who tested positive for COVID can donate convalescent plasma— used for lifesaving treatment– up to eight times.
  • Through Monday (1/4/21), drop off gently used winter coats during Exodus Transitional Community’s coat drive (268 3rd Ave., 10 am – 7 pm). Then next Friday (1/8/21) from 2-6 pm, those in need of a coat can pick one up (268 3rd Ave.).

Thursday, 12/17/20

  • Last week, subscribers to this newsletter went to The Sled website and bought out all the gifts that over 1,300 students (at four public schools and six family shelters in Manhattan) requested for holiday gifts!
    That means kindergartner Jared will be able to get a Matchbox garage set, 4th grader Emily will receive her Barbie doll, 2nd grader Aaron will enjoy his Lego Fortress, and middle schooler Irene will enjoy an art drawing set.
    This week, we’re wrapping and delivering those gifts in time for Christmas. You can still donate to this 501(c)3 formed by local moms who collected toys for students at P.S. 188 on the Lower East Side and P.S. 76 in Harlem last year.
    Watch a great video about this wonderful group and the happiness and joy they have spread in this time of anxiety and need.
    Thanks for your support and your big New York generosity.
  • We can use your help on another front, too: The fire that devastated the Lower East Side’s Middle Collegiate Church last week also displaced the women living next door in a Women’s Prison Association shelter. Everyone is safe, but the women lost most of their possessions, and WPA is asking for donations to help replace what was lost (I’ve already donated).
  • The P.S. 51 PTA has organized a holiday wish list for toys and necessities for its students. The wish list is open through this Monday (12/21).
  • Saturday (12/19) from 9 am – 5 pm, I’m hosting the “2020 Harlem Holiday Toy Drive” to benefit children at local hospitals, co-sponsored by five Divine Nine Harlem fraternity chapters and the Uptown Democratic Club. Drop off toys at the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Community Center (34 W. 134th St.).

Thursday, 12/10/20

  • Businesses and organizations can donate extra food and supplies to local organizations that can then redistribute them. Details about eligible donors and recipients can be found online: For food donations visit; for non-food donations, visit
  • The Off-Broadway Toy Drive benefits a family shelter in Times Square. Send or drop off toys at the Theater Center, 210 W. 50th St., 4th floor (drop-offs accepted Monday – Friday and Sunday 10 am – 1 pm). Those donating a toy worth $10 or more can email the receipt to to receive a voucher for one free ticket to participating Off-Broadway shows in 2021.
  • Community and advocacy group Open Doors’ campaign to protect nursing home residents and workers from COVID is holding a holiday mask drive for Roosevelt Island’s chronic care facility, Coler Speciality Hospital.
  • Tomorrow Friday (12/11) 10 am – 2 pm and Saturday (12/12) 1-5 pm, a coat and sock drive for families living in shelters will be hosted by Rauschenbusch Metro Ministries and Community Board 4 (covering Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen). Drop off coats and socks at Metro Baptist Church (410 W. 40th St.).
  • Sunday (12/13) at noon, donate coats to the “Harlem Community Coat Drive,” hosted by Apostle Staci Ramos, 28th Precinct Clergy Council and the Katch Society and cosponsored by me. Drop off coats at the 28th Precinct (2271-89 Frederick Douglass Blvd.).

Thursday, 12/3/20

  • I know that the holidays may not look the same as they have in the past, but New Yorkers giving the gift of hope and love is something this pandemic can’t take away from us.
    This holiday season, I’m partnering with The Sled, an organization begun last year by moms who collected toys for students at P.S. 188 on the Lower East Side and P.S. 76 in Harlem after reading a NY Times article about the lives of students who attended these schools, many of whom live in temporary housing.
    This year, The Sled has expanded their operation to also include P.S. 111 in Hell’s Kitchen, P.S. 145 in Manhattan Valley, P.S. 676 in Brooklyn and six family homeless shelters. 1,300 children at these schools and shelters have chosen the specific gift they want, and you can purchase one or more– or gift cards for the older kids– online at this link.
    The selection deadline for the gifts to be delivered in time is 12/15. Staff from my office (the “Brew Crew”) will volunteer to assist the moms in wrapping and distribution.
  • The Alliance for Positive Change’sHoliday Gift Drive” is accepting donations of children’s toys, warm clothes, toiletries and food to support low-income people living with chronic illnesses. Donations can be dropped off or shipped to Alliance Midtown Central, 64 W. 35th St.
  • WARM’s holiday toy drive runs through Friday, 12/18. Drop off toys at WeWork Harlem (8 W. 126th St., 3rd floor) Monday – Friday, 9 am – 5 pm.
  • Find a coat drive drop-off location through this New York Cares map.
  • Borrow free equipment for community clean-ups from the Dept. of Sanitation by calling 311, emailing or submitting this form.
  • Tuesday (12/8) from noon – 5 pm, donate toys to City Council Speaker Corey Johnson’s annual toy drive. Drop off new, unwrapped toys at 224 W. 30th St., suite #1206.
  • Next Thursday (12/10) throughout the day, volunteer to distribute masks on subways and buses with the MTA Mask Force. Sign up here.

Thursday, 11/19/20

Thursday, 11/12/20

Thursday, 11/5/20

Thursday, 10/29/20

  • Concrete Safaris is hosting a canned food drive through 11/25. Drop off cans at 158 E. 115th St., suite 144, Mon – Fri, 10 am – 5 pm.
  • Next Thursday (11/5) at 6 pm, youth advocacy organization NYC Youth Civics Initiative hosts a kickoff event, featuring a panel of youth activists and opportunities for students and organizations to get involved with NYCYCI. Register here.

Thursday, 10/22/20

Thursday, 10/15/20

  • 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
  • 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.

Thursday, 10/8/20

  • 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.

Thursday, 10/1/20

Thursday, 9/17/20

  • 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 (
  • 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.

Thursday, 9/10/20

  • 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.).

Thursday, 9/3/20

Thursday, 8/27/20

  • 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.

Thursday, 8/20/20

  • 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.

Thursday, 8/13/20

  • 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 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 or (347) 610-2867.

Thursday, 8/6/20

  • 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

Monday, 8/3/20

  • 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. 

Thursday, 7/30/20

  • 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

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.

Thursday, 7/9/20

  • 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.

Wednesday, 7/1/20

Monday, 6/22/20

  • 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

Tuesday, 6/16/20

  • 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.

Thursday, 6/11/20

  • 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.

Thursday, 6/4/20

  • 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

    • Accessible

    • Staffed

    • 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.

Wednesday, 6/3/20

  • 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).

Wednesday, 5/27/20

  • 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.

Tuesday, 5/26/20

  • 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.

Tuesday, 5/19/20

  • 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 for more information on the program or learn more about the role here.

Monday, 5/18/20

  • 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.

Tuesday, 5/5/20

Monday, 5/4/20

  • 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

Friday, 5/1/20

  • 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

Monday, 4/27/20

  • The NYC Fund for Public Health is now hiring people with health backgrounds to do COVID-19 contact tracing. Learn more at under “COVID-19 Jobs.”

Friday, 4/24/20

  • 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 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.

Monday, 4/20/20

Friday, 4/17/20

  • 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.

Thursday, 4/16/20

  • 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.

Wednesday, 4/15/20

  • 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.

Tuesday, 4/14/20

  • 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 with questions.

Monday, 4/13/20

  • 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 to lend a hand.

Monday, 4/06/20

  • 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.

Thursday, 4/02/20

  • 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:
    If you are a manufacturer and able to create new products from scratch, please complete this form:

Wednesday, 4/01/20

  • 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

Monday, 3/30/20

  • 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 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.

Thursday. 3/26/20

  • Go to and click on “Produce or Donate Supplies” if you have goods to contribute to the City.
  • Go to: 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
  • 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

Wednesday, 3/25/20

  • 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). Volunteercheck their Volunteer Portal for upcoming opportunities. Follow them on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter, and share their posts tagging City Harvest and #WeAreCityHarvest.

Tuesday, 3/24/20

Monday, 3/23/20

  • Here’s an interactive map for finding soup kitchens, food pantries, senior centers, or SNAP enrollment sites.
  • is deputizing low-risk people to deliver shopping or goods to high-risk people. Visit their website to volunteer, or request a delivery.

Friday, 3/20/20

Wednesday, 3/18/20

  • A reader sent me this 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.

Tuesday, 3/17/20

  • 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

Categories: COVID-19