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COVID-19

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 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.

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 nyc.gov/nonprofits 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 admin@gcnssc.org.

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 strashun@searchandcare.org.

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 https://fphnyc.org/about/careers/ 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 info@nycfoodpolicy.org 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 sjoseph@imentor.org 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 pantry@cloth159.org 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: 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

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 covidserumtesting@mountsinai.org.

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 info@nyccovidcare.org 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 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 communitysupport@isaacscenter.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

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. 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.

Friday, 3/20/20

Wednesday, 3/18/20

  • 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.

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 publicprivate@oem.nyc.gov.

Categories: COVID-19