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Where to Volunteer with Kids in the New York Area

Where to Volunteer with Kids in the New York Area

Check out all of the potential volunteer opportunities in your neighborhood!


Lend a little hand in your community, and make it a family affair! We've put together a guide to places around the New York Metro Area that need your help, including nursing homes, nonprofit organizations, animal shelters, the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, and many more. Volunteer opportunities are available for kids and adults alike—and remember, big or small, everyone has the power to make a difference!

When your child asks, "Why should I volunteer?" you might not know how to answer. Aside from helping others and the community at large be a better place, according to PBS Kids, kids should volunteer with their family because they’ll make new friends, gain important skills and experience that will help them later in life, make connections that can lead to a job or career, see more of the community and world, build confidence and self-esteem, meet people who could be role models, relieve stress, spend time doing what they really care about, feel like they’re part of a community, and have fun! 

So how can you help your child get started with volunteering in your community? And what are volunteer opportunities you can do as a family?

Volunteering During Coronavirus

It’s easy to feel powerless during this strange time. Between homeschooling and working from home, not to mention cleaning, cooking, and trying to relieve stress, you probably feel like your days are pretty packed. Volunteering to help pandemic victims might seem aspirational—but it’s actually quite easy. As little as a few hours a week would not only lighten the load of those suffering during this crisis, but likely lift your spirits as well. Here are a few of the many great volunteer opportunities in New York—including those you can do from home.  

How to Start Volunteering During the Coronavirus

These sites and organizations have set up general databases to connect you with volunteer openings.

Catch A Fire matches people with remote volunteer work for non-profits based on their skills. You can also consult NYC United Against Coronavirus, a constantly-updated Google doc filled with useful links to various aid efforts around the city.

NYC's Department of Health has set up a special website with ideas for how you can help essential workers and first responders. They are accepting donations of essential goods, services, and spaces here.

Want to help with the vaccine research? Keep an eye out for human “challenge studies” enrolling healthy young people (without preexisting conditions) to be exposed to coronavirus and test vaccines. 

Finally, many businesses need your help in the form of donations, especially local food banks, hunger organizations, and restaurant workers relief funds. Another easy way you can help is to continue patronizing the individual indie businesses that are a regular part of your life—take advantage of delivery and takeout services and consider buying gift cards or prepaying where you can.

How to Help Vulnerable Citizens During the Pandemic 

The following organizations help deliver supplies and companionship to vulnerable citizens who can't leave their homes at all:

Invisible Hands needs volunteers to deliver groceries to the elderly, as do more locally-based variations like Bushwick Mutual Aid and Queens Mutual Aid. If you have a bike, Corona Couriers is looking for you to deliver groceries in all boroughs except Staten Island. Those interested should call or text 929-320-0660, or email coronacourier@protonmail.com.

For those up for reaching out on their own, check out the Nextdoor app (a cross between Facebook and Craig’s List) where neighbors near you post when they need food or medicine pickups. There’s also a map in which neighbors can add their location and volunteering abilities.

RELATED: How to Have the Best Thanksgiving Possible During a Pandemic

How to Help the Homeless During the Pandemic

Without stable or safe environments, nor the means to procure masks and other PPE, the homeless are one of the most vulnerable right now. 

The National Coalition for the Homeless provides a directory of local homeless shelters where you can volunteer. There are also volunteer opportunities at the following organizations that offer food, mental support and other services to the homeless: the Bowery Mission, the Ali Forney Center, The Salvation Army, Partnership for the Homeless, and Housing Works.

How to Help From Home During the Pandemic

For those who don’t want to or can't break their quarantine, there are plenty of options to volunteer from home. 

The NYC-based organization DOROT connects people with the elderly to talk to on the phone or over video chat. Similarly, Alone is an organization that helps the elderly feel less lonely—telephone volunteers call and check in on them at least two hours each week. And Heights and Hills is soliciting volunteers to check in on isolated seniors in Brooklyn via phone. 

Be My Eyes app pairs the blind and visually impaired with volunteers via a video call in order to assist with everyday tasks (think reading a recipe on the back of a box). 

If you’re feeling steady on the mental health front, donate your time to a crisis textline or hotline where you can help people struggling with issues like domestic violence, child abuse, suicidal ideation or other crisis that have become worse during the pandemic. 

How to Donate Blood During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Whether or not you’ve had COVID-19, your blood can help others recover from COVID-19, as well as other injuries and disorders.

The New York Blood Center needs blood plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients, and is partnering with Mt. Sinai Health System to transfer that blood to patients still fighting the virus. The procedure has shown that patients who've received a transfusion saw their health improve. If you’ve had the virus, find out where to give blood.

If you’re healthy, the American Red Cross encourages you to schedule a blood or platelet donation appointment at redcrossblood.org to help maintain a sufficient blood supply and avoid any potential shortages. 

Volunteer Your Skills During the Pandemic

Specific abilities are needed all over New York—from coding and research to tutoring 

If you can program, help Code for America’s volunteer “brigades” make technology accessible and safe for local communities. 80,000 Hours is looking for skilled researchers interested in helping to fight the pandemic: Their database of career and volunteering opportunities has a diverse range of options.

Now that schools are closed, students need tutors and mentors. If that sounds like something you have the skill set for, you can volunteer through iCouldBe, a student mentorship program.

Volunteering in Manhattan

Serve Your Community

Governors Island
Volunteer applications are closed for 2020, but you can still learn about opportunities by emailing volunteer@friendsgi.org.

Volunteers with the Friends of Governors Island (ages 18 and older) can serve as Island Ambassadors, welcoming the public to the island, helping orient visitors, and informing them about the island’s past, present, and future. Green Team volunteers (ages 1618 and older) take part in gardening and landscaping projects on Governors Island Historic District and the new park. The island re-opens to the public around May 1. For more information, contact volunteer coordinator Asley Davis at asley@friendsgi.org. Volunteer forms can be filled out online.

Room to Grow
All volunteering opportunities are virtual, as on-site volunteering is currently on hold.

The New York program site of Room to Grow, a nonprofit organization that strives to enrich the lives of babies born into poverty, is looking for dedicated volunteers to help prepare in-kind donations for families, organize collection drives, assist with fundraising, and get involved with many other special projects. High school student volunteers help organize and prepare inventory of infant and toddler clothing, toys, books, and equipment during the week for two-hour sessions. Room to Grow is located at 7 W. 30th St., 3rd Floor, Nomad. To volunteer, call 212-620-7800 or email victoria.town@roomtogrow.org.

Feed the Hungry

The Food Bank for New York City
During the pandemic, the Food Bank for New York City has several virtual volunteer opportunities available. Take part in the Dear New York Program to offer support during this challenging time or start an online fundraiser to support the organization's COVID-19 response effort. For more information on how to help at the Food Bank, email volunteer@foodbanknyc.org, call 212-566-7855 x5, or visit foodbanknyc.org/volunteer.  Main office: 39 Broadway, 10th Floor, Lower Manhattan.

Do Good for the Environment

GrowNYC
During COVID-19, volunteers ages 18 and older are needed to assist GrowNYC staff with implementing proper protocols at food access points to ensure the safety of the public, as well as the Producer community, staff, and volunteers. For more information, including a list of all COVID-19-related program changes, check the website.

Partnerships for Parks
Partnerships for Parks has developed new protocols to help volunteers participate safely.

Volunteers for Partnerships for Parks help care for parks across the city by lending a hand to beautify a neighborhood green space through It’s My Park. Volunteers have opportunities to give back by cleaning, painting, weeding, planting and more. Volunteers sustain local park communities by providing the resources to make a tangible, lasting difference. Volunteers can  help out in their neighborhood parks, volunteer as a group or lead their own It’s My Park project. Learn more about individual opportunities, group and corporate volunteering or how to lead an It’s My Park project online.

Donate Clothing in Manhattan

Salvation Army
Enlist your kids in the process of cleaning out their closets before springtime. It can even turn into a fashion show to see what still fits. Take your kids with you when you donate the clothes at your local Salvation Army so they can see the impact of their good efforts.

  • 208 E. 23rd St., Gramercy Park; 646-454-1184. Face masks required to drop off items.
  • 208 Eighth Ave., Chelsea; 212-929-5214. Face masks required to donate. They are not accepting furniture.
  • 268 W. 96th St., Upper West Side; 646-858-0198. Face masks are required to drop off items. All items must be in a bag or box.

Support a Senior

DOROT 
DOROT, an organization that mobilizes volunteers to improve the lives and health of the elderly and help them live independently, is looking for high school teens to volunteer with the teen internship program. In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and in an effort to ensure the health and safety of all  participants, the DOROT Fall Teen Internship Program 2020 will operate as a virtual program. Volunteers can join the organization by Zoom or telephone from the safety of their homes to make a difference in the lives of older New Yorkers. There is no charge for participation in DOROT’s teen internship programs. Learn more and apply online. For questions, contact teens@dorotusa.org or 212-769-2850.

Jewish Association Serving the Aging
Volunteers ages 18 and older can volunteer with the Jewish Association Serving the Aging. Volunteers are needed to call seniors once or twice a week for four to six weeks. The calls can take place at the volunteers' convenience. Volunteers are matched with a senior based on mutual preferences. For more information, call 212-273-5320.

Volunteering Opportunities in Brooklyn

Serve Your Community

Governors Island
Volunteer applications are closed for 2020, but you can still learn about opportunities by emailing volunteer@friendsgi.org.

Volunteers with the Friends of Governors Island (ages 18 and older) can serve as Island Ambassadors, welcoming the public to the island, helping orient visitors, and informing them about the island’s past, present, and future. Green Team volunteers (ages 1618 and older) take part in gardening and landscaping projects on Governors Island Historic District and the new park. The island re-opens to the public around May 1. For more information, contact volunteer coordinator Asley Davis at asley@friendsgi.org. Volunteer forms can be filled out online.

Feed the Hungry

Citymeals on Wheels
Staff and volunteers are advised to stay home if they feel sick. All volunteers must wear face masks and respect social distancing protocols.

Citymeals on Wheels provides meals and companionship to homebound elderly New Yorkers. Volunteers can sign up to deliver meals once or make a longer commitment. Individuals younger than 16 years of age, accompanied by an adult, can also help hand-deliver meals. To learn more go to: citymeals.org/volunteer. Or call 212-687-1234 or email sheila@citymeals.org for more information.

Do Good for the Environment

Grow NYC
During COVID-19, volunteers ages 18 and older are needed to assist GrowNYC staff with implementing proper protocols at food access points to ensure the safety of the public, as well as the Producer community, staff, and volunteers. 

Partnerships for Parks
Partnerships for Parks helps New Yorkers work together to make neighborhood parks thrive. The organization has a diverse, growing network of dedicated park volunteers and groups and it provides opportunities for them to celebrate their parks, become more effective leaders in their communities, and work with government officials to affect decisions about their parks. There are various volunteer opportunities for all age and interest levels. For more information on how to get involved, visit online, call 212-360-1399, or email info@cityparksfoundation.org.

Lend a Hand at the Stable

Gallop NYC
Due to COVID-19 only volunteers who have experience lead-walking and horse handling are being accepted at this time to help limit the number of people on-site as much as possible. Check the website or contact the organization for a complete list of COVID safety guidelines.

Kids ages 16 and older can get involved with GallopNYC, which brings the benefits of therapeutic horseback riding to kids and adults with developmental, emotional, social, and physical challenges. Volunteers can help with lessons, supporting riders by leading their horses and providing encouragement; lend a hand with stable work; or participate in fundraising and special programs. Volunteers sign up for 2 hours a week for multiple weeks. GallopNYC asks its volunteers to help with riding lessons (leading of horses) or sidewalking (two volunteers walk along either side of the horse). No experience is needed as training is provided. Sign up to volunteer here, call 646-233-4507, or email volunteer@gallopnyc.org.

Volunteering Opportunities in Queens

Feed the Hungry

Citymeals on Wheels
Staff and volunteers are advised to stay home if they feel sick. All volunteers must wear face masks and respect social distancing protocols.

Citymeals on Wheels provides meals and companionship to homebound elderly New Yorkers. Volunteers can sign up to deliver meals once or make a longer commitment. Individuals younger than 16 years of age, accompanied by an adult, can also help hand-deliver meals. To learn more go to: citymeals.org/volunteer. Or call 212-687-1234 or email sheila@citymeals.org for more information.

Do Good for the Environment

Alley Pond Environmental Center
Everyone must wear face masks and follow social-distancing guidelines.

Alley Pond Environmental Center engages volunteers along with college and high school-aged interns (ages 14 and older) in community service through assistance with animal care, outside work, educational programs, and special events. APEC provides guidance, training, and supervision, as well as a sense of commitment and sensitivity to environmental issues. Visit online for more information. 224-65 76th Ave., Oakland Gardens.

GrowNYC
During COVID-19, volunteers ages 18 and older are needed to assist GrowNYC staff with implementing proper protocols at food access points to ensure the safety of the public, as well as the Producer community, staff, and volunteers. 

Partnerships for Parks
Partnerships for Parks helps New Yorkers work together to make neighborhood parks thrive. The organization has a diverse, growing network of dedicated park volunteers and groups and it provides opportunities for them to celebrate their parks, become more effective leaders in their communities, and work with government officials to affect decisions about their parks. There are various volunteer opportunities for all age and interest levels. For more information on how to get involved, visit online, call 212-360-1399, or email info@cityparksfoundation.org.

Lend a Hand at the Stable

GallopNYC
Due to COVID-19 only volunteers who have experience lead-walking and horse handling are being accepted at this time to help  limit the amount of people on site as much as possible. Check the website or contact the organization for a complete list of COVID safety guidelines.

Kids ages 16 and older can get involved with GallopNYC, which brings the benefits of therapeutic horseback riding to kids and adults with developmental, emotional, social, and physical challenges. Volunteers can help with lessons, supporting riders by leading their horses and providing encouragement; lend a hand with stable work; or participate in fundraising and special programs. Volunteers sign up for two hours a week for multiple weeks. GallopNYC asks its volunteers to help with riding lessons (leading of horses) or sidewalking (two volunteers walk along either side of the horse). No experience is needed as training is provided. Sign up to volunteer here, call 646-233-4507, or email volunteer@gallopnyc.org.

Donate Clothing in Queens

Salvation Army
Enlist your kids in the process of cleaning out their closets. It can even turn into a fashion show to see what still fits. Take your kids with you when you donate the clothes so they can see the good their efforts are doing. Check with your local Salvation Army thrift store for instructions on donating clothes:

  • 462 Hempstead Turnpike, Elmont; 516-354-9498. Accepting clothing donations only. Face masks required.
  • 39-11 61st St., Woodside; 718-458-1526. Face masks required.

Volunteering Opportunities in Nassau County

Serve Your Community

Habitat for Humanity
All volunteers must follow social distancing protocols.

Habitat for Humanity in Nassau County, NY Inc., (HFHNC), a local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, offers every volunteer an opportunity to stretch their skill set. With Habitat, volunteers have the chance to learn something different, sometimes in as little as a single day. They can help a family make repairs and improvements to their existing home or get instructions on how to use a new tool on the job site. Volunteers must be 18 or older to use power tools, so those younger than 18 may assist in a variety of ways, including site clean up, and preparing and serving lunch on the job site Wednesday, Thursday, or Saturday. Enterprising families and social and civic groups may also organize fundraising campaigns to raise money for building supplies and materials. Sign up to volunteer by clicking here. For more information, call 516-627-6047 or email hello@habitatnassau.org. Walk-ins are not permitted. Volunteers must sign a waiver. 1400 Old Northern Blvd., Roslyn.

Feed the Hungry

Island Harvest
Volunteers are required to wear face masks covering their nose and mouth at all times. The organization enforces social distancing whenever possible.

Island Harvest works to end hunger and reduce food waste on Long Island. The organization offers opportunities for all ages to make a difference, including children involved in a school club, scout troop, or youth group. Kids and adults alike can help out at community fairs, food drives, and other special events. Groups can also organize their own “food raisers” or fundraisers with help from Island Harvest. One idea is to run a themed food drive through your group or in your neighborhood, with themes like “sandwich fixings,” or “holiday trimmings.” Sign up for volunteer opportunities here, email volunteersupport@islandharvest.org, or call 631-873-4775.

Donate Clothing in Nassau County

Salvation Army
Donate clothes to the Salvation Army. Enlist your kids in the process of cleaning out their closets before springtime. It can even turn into a fashion show to see what still fits. Take your kids with you when you donate the clothes so they can see the impact of their good efforts. Check with your local Salvation Army Family Store for instructions on donating clothes:

  • 462 Hempstead Turnpike, Elmont; 800-728-7825 or 516-354-9498. Accepting clothing donations only; face masks required.
  • 194 Front St., Hempstead; 516-481-7600. Face masks required.

Volunteering Opportunities in Suffolk County

Serve Your Community

Salvation Army
Check the website for updates on applying for volunteer positions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Salvation Army has locations throughout Suffolk County and offers many opportunities for families to lend a helping hand to others in need. The Salvation Army accepts volunteers of all ages—as long as an adult is along to supervise—to work in a wide variety of programs, from soup kitchens to after-school programs. Jobs could include cooking, cleaning up, serving meals, or playing soccer with other children, but programs vary by location.

Befriend a Furball

Save-A-Pet Animal Rescue and Adoption Center
Face masks are required for all volunteers. Social distancing is enforced.

Save-A-Pet Animal Rescue and Adoption Center is a “safe harbor” for companion animals. The shelter also serves the community by teaching and practicing humane behavior toward man and all living things. Save-A-Pet accepts adult volunteers: Anyone older than 18 can walk dogs, children 16 and older can work with the center’s cats, and children younger than 16 can do things off-site to help orphaned pets. Volunteers can help out in a variety of ways, from tidying up and fixing the shelter and its grounds, to bringing pet therapy to the residents of the Jefferson Ferry Assisted Living community (ages 21 and older only; must have own dogs that pass the rescue’s criteria). To volunteer, contact dori@saveapetusa.org. The center is located at 608 Route 112, Port Jefferson Station. For more information: 631-473-6333 or click here.

Make a Wish Come True

Make-A-Wish Foundation
The Make-A-Wish® Foundation grants life-changing wishes to children battling critical illnesses. Kids For Wish Kids® is a unique program managed by kids, for kids. The program engages students, schools, and youth organizations in philanthropy and service activities. It puts kids in charge! They take the lead to brainstorm fundraising ideas and manage everything from start to finish. In December 2020, Make-A-Wish® will be kicking off “Families for Wishes” campaign, inviting you to celebrate your family by raising funds to help wish families! Connect with Make-A-Wish Suffolk County to get started. Call Angela Sinclair or Joanne Coppola at 631-585-9474 or visit suffolk.wish.org for more information on ways to help.

Volunteer with Individuals with Special Needs

Miracles on the Field
The League of YES, formally known as the Miracle League of Long Island, believes everyone deserves the chance to play baseball. The grassroots organization provides people of all ages with disabilities the joy and benefits of playing America’s national pastime. The league’s mission is to develop social skills and boost self-esteem for the players while fostering community support. Through the BUDDY program, volunteers are assigned to a League of Yes player and help him or her in every aspect of the game. No matter the age of the player, volunteers, preferably ages 12 and older, help the player in batting, running bases, protecting him/her from balls, and most importantly be a friend on the field and off. The program breaks barriers for a child with disabilities when he or she becomes friends with a volunteer and this community aspect of the League of Yes is the most important statistic on the scorecard. To find out more about how to become a buddy, contact Kristine Fitzpatrick at 631-278-6385 or kristine@leagueofyes.com. Visit online for a volunteer form.

Donate Clothing in Suffolk County

Salvation Army
You can donate your old clothes to the organization’s thrift stores. Enlist your kids in the process of cleaning out their closets before springtime. It can even turn into a fashion show to see what still fits. Take your kids with you when you donate the clothes so that they can see the good their efforts are doing. Check with your local Salvation Army Family Store for instructions on donating clothes:

  • 227 Little East Neck Road, West Babylon; 631-669-1354. Must wear a face mask.  
  • 110 Bellerose Ave., East Northport; 631-754-4449. Must wear a face mask.
  • 414 E. Main St., Patchogue; 631-654-9380. Must wear a face mask.
  • 319 E. Main St., Riverhead; 631-727-1571. Only taking clothing and shoes. Must wear a face mask.

Volunteering Opportunities in Westchester County

Do Good for the Environment

The Weinberg Nature Center
Volunteers complete an online questionnaire. They must wear face masks indoors and have their temperatures taken upon arrival.

The Weinberg Nature Center is a wildlife sanctuary consisting of a meadow, garden, fruit orchard, woodlots, swamp, nature trails, and a greenhouse forthcoming in the spring. Parents and kids ages 10 and older can volunteer to garden, plant wildflowers, or care for the center’s animals. Or, older teens and adults can help with summer camp, programming, marketing and social networking, landscaping, and trail maintenance. Contact Sam at sweinstock@scarsdale.com.

Make a Wish Come True

Make-A-Wish Foundation
Make-A-Wish® Hudson Valley creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. The Kids For Wish Kids® program enables students to discover philanthropy by selecting their own fundraising project and managing it from start to finish, with little or no help from their teachers. Students develop leadership skills, build self-esteem and learn about teamwork while working toward a final goal of making a difference in the life of a child who is fighting overwhelming odds. To get involved, contact Clare Bucci Sharrock at csharrock@hudson.wish.org or visit hudson.wish.org/kids for more information.

Feed the Hungry

Meals-on-Wheels
Meals-on-Wheels of White Plains provides “more than a meal” to the housebound, seniors, and others in need by delivering food, providing a bit of warmth and compassion, and serving as a daily check on our elderly neighbors. Parents and children can assist by delivering meals. Deliveries are made Monday-Saturday, 11:15am-12:45pm. To volunteer, call 914-946-6878. For more information, go online. 311 North St., Suite G5, White Plains.

Befriend a Furball

The SPCA of Westchester
There is a limit on the number of volunteers allowed at one time, so the staff aims to pre-schedule volunteer shifts. All volunteers are required to follow safety precautions, including wearing face masks.

The SPCA of Westchester is a no-kill shelter that provides shelter and rehabilitation for abused, abandoned, and lost pets; adoption services; low-cost spaying and neutering; and help with locating lost pets. Parents and kids ages 10 and older can volunteer: junior volunteers ages 10-17 can read to dogs, do homework with dogs and cats, and take part in the new imaginative storytelling program. Any direct interaction, such as dog walking and cat socializing, is for ages 18 and older. They can do pet therapy and take their own dog or a shelter dog to visit nursing homes, and assist with fundraising events and shelter beautification, including gardening, cleanup, painting, and trail maintenance. If you have a love for animals, there is a volunteer opportunity for you. Whether you are interested in dog walking, cat care, dog bathing and grooming, event planning, humane education, administrative work, or opening your home to a foster animal, the shelter can always use your help. The shelter is currently located at a temporary facility in Cortlandt Manor while the Briarcliff Manor location is rebuilt. For more information, contact Joanne Witmyer at 914-941-2896 x28 or joanne@spca914.org. 590 N. State Road, Briarcliff Manor.

Donate Clothing

Salvation Army
Take the time to help others as you help yourself. Enlist your kids in the process of cleaning out their closets to donate old clothes. It can even turn into a fashion show to see what still fits. Take your kids with you when you donate the clothes so they can see the impact of their good efforts. Check with your local Salvation Army thrift store for specific instructions on donating clothes:

  • 117 Nelson Ave., Peekskill; 914-737-0280
  • 36 N. Main St., Port Chester; 914-939-1620
  • 22 Church St., New Rochelle; 914-632-0381
  • 745 S. Third Ave., Mount Vernon; 914-664-0800
  • 29 Palisade Ave., Yonkers; 914- 969-4571
  • 16 Sterling Ave., White Plains; 914-949-2908
  • 115 Wildey St., Tarrytown; 914-631-3871

The Sharing Shelf
All volunteering requires pre-registration. Volunteers must be at least 14 and those ages 14-17 must be accompanied by their parent or guardian who also actively volunteers. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization is limiting the number of volunteers in the warehouse at one time and suspending large group volunteering. Volunteers must wear a face mask and adhere to social distancing. There are opportunities for home-based volunteering.

The Sharing Shelf collects new and gently used clothing from infants, children, and teens.The clothing is sorted by size, season, and gender, then distributed to local, low-income children at no cost through nonprofits, schools, hospitals and community groups in Westchester County. The children the organization serves receive a week's worth of seasonally appropriate clothing matched to their sizing needs. The organization also hosts a semi-annual free shopping day for low-income teen girls and each summer distributes new backpacks filled with grade-appropriate school supplies. Each year, the organization distributes more than 75,000 items to nearly 3,000 children through more than 50 schools, hospitals, nonprofits, and community groups in Westchester County. For more information contact Deborah Blatt, Executive Director at 914-305-5950 or by email (for a faster response) at dblatt@sharingshelf.org. The Sharing Shelf is located at 47 Purdy Avenue in Port Chester and serves all of Westchester County.

Volunteering Opportunities in Rockland County

Serve Your Community

People to People
Everyone is to wear a mask, get a temperature check when coming into the building and follow social distancing. Gloves are provided.

People to People helps Rockland County residents through difficult times by providing food and school supplies at this time. Kids ages 16 and older can volunteer at the food pantry, where they’ll shelve, bag, and check expiration dates on food. Families with children younger than 16  are encouraged to participate in a food drive or other service project—contact the program director for more information. Volunteer applications are available on the website or at the front desk, Monday-Wednesday and Friday, 9:30am-4pm, and Thursdays, 9:30am-6:30pm. Community service credit for school and religious groups is available. All volunteers must complete an application process. Call Guadalupe Fishman, director of administrative services, at guadalupe@peopletopeopleinc.org for more.

Rockland Jewish Family Service
Social distancing is enforced and face masks are required.

Rockland Jewish Family Service runs the Rhoda Bloom Kosher Food Pantry to provide staples to needy families in the county. Once a month, volunteers prepare packages of non-perishable food to be picked up by the families enrolled in the program. To volunteer or for more information visit their website or call Kathryn Samalin at 845-354-2121.

Feed the Hungry

Meals on Wheels
Deliveries are contactless. Volunteers are required to wear face masks. Bags are provided for each delivery to ensure a contactless delivery.

Meals on Wheels where “meals are just the first course,” provides more than a meal to the housebound, seniors, and others in need through nutritional, recreational, and social support programs. Parents and children of any age can assist by delivering meals for 1 hour, once a week; deliveries are made with your own vehicle Monday-Friday, 10am-1pm. Parents can also choose to deliver meals on holidays only, when they are off from work. DIY volunteering is strongly encouraged: Kids can do take-home projects to earn community service hours such as caring cards and making small crafts for a meal recipient. Volunteers are also needed for the Cards and Crafts, Miles of Smiles and Blizzard Boxes programs. To get started, contact Michelle Gebbia at mgebbia@mowrockland.org or 845-624-6325, or visit the website.

Make a Wish Come True

Make-A-Wish Foundation
Make-A-Wish® Hudson Valley creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. The Kids For Wish Kids® program enables students to discover philanthropy by selecting their own fundraising project and managing it from start to finish, with little or no help from their teachers. Students develop leadership skills, build self-esteem and learn about teamwork while working toward a final goal of making a difference in the life of a child who is fighting overwhelming odds. To get involved, contact Clare Bucci Sharrock at csharrock@hudson.wish.org or visit hudson.wish.org/kids for more information.

Do Good for the Environment

Keep Rockland Beautiful
Volunteers are required to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines; more information on the website.

Keep Rockland Beautiful engages people of all ages in creating cleaner, healthier, sustainable communities. Families can participate in KRB's Fall Cleanup Campaign, which runs through mid-November and the Great American Cleanup in the spring. KRB also provides environmental education to elementary and middle school-aged children. KRB's Earth BEAT program engages kids in fun, interactive learning that prepares and inspires them to protect our natural resources and care for their own health. Earth BEAT is being adapted to meet today's educational needs by providing both on-site and distance-learning opportunities. To learn more, visit the website or email info@keeprocklandbeautiful.org.

Volunteering Opportunities in Fairfield, CT

Befriend a Furball

Connecticut Humane Society
Everyone must wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines.

Lessons in responsibility can come while serving as a foster family for a pet from the Connecticut Humane Society. By taking in pets for a short period of time, children will learn to care for others and ultimately learn to take care of themselves. But be wary—some may become attached to the animal and want to adopt it! Most volunteer opportunities at the humane society have an age requirement of 18 or older, but children are always encouraged to support CHS by arranging a supply collection or a fundraiser to benefit the animals. Families may foster pets in their own homes or donate time to the shelter instead. For a complete list of accepted supplies and ways kids can help, visit online.

Donate Books

Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital
While it’s not currently seeking volunteers, check back periodically for updates. Item donations are still being accepted. Everyone who donates an item and arrives on site must wear a face mask and follow social distancing guidelines.

Donate gently loved books, magazines, and non-violent toys to the Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital. For more information on donating, contact volunteer services at 203-688-2297. The Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital also needs and welcomes energetic volunteers 15 and older. Volunteers generally give a minimum of 4 hours a week for at least 6 months. There are a variety of volunteer roles to fit individual time schedules, abilities, and interests. Volunteers may work directly with patients or choose to work behind the scenes. For more on these opportunities, visit ynhh.org. 20 York St., New Haven.

Feed the Hungry

Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County
Everyone will get a temperature check when they arrive. All must wear face masks and follow social distancing guidelines.

At the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County, families are encouraged to help inspect and sort food donations that will in turn be distributed to direct feeding agencies like The Salvation Army, New Covenant House, and Norwalk Emergency Shelter. The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County provides food to more than 90 nonprofit agencies and programs that serve low-income people in its six-town service area through bags of groceries and congregate meals. These include soup kitchens, food pantries, child care programs, homeless shelters, senior centers, domestic violence safe houses, and rehabilitation programs. Opportunities are available to get involved as an individual or a group. Volunteers are needed to drive, sort food, and assist with delivery of food. If you want to step it up a notch, consider organizing a food drive at your child’s school. For details, contact Kathleen Lombardo at 203-358-8898 or klombardo@foodbanklfc.org. 461 Glenbrook Road, Stamford.

Serve Your Community

Westport Library Association
All volunteers must wear face masks and follow social distancing guidelines.

The Westport Library Association is supported by the public/private partnership between the town and individual donors. Volunteering opportunities include helping the library maintain its collection; facilitating poetry groups, creative writing workshops, and book clubs; helping with youth programs; and participating in events such as the holiday book sale and silent book auction. Call 203-291-4800 or visit westportlibrary.org for more information and to fill out a volunteer form. 6 Harris Lane, Westport.

Westport/Weston Family Y
Check the website for information about COVID-19 safety guidelines.

The Westport/Weston Family Y enriches the community by promoting youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. A charitable ,nonprofit organization, the Y endeavors to serve all, regardless of financial capacity or physical capability. To learn how you can become a supporting role in this organization, visit online or call 203-226-8981. 14 Allen Raymond Lane, Westport.

Make a Wish Come True

Make-A-Wish Foundation
As part of the Kids for Wish Kids program during the 2020-2021 school year, the organization is encouraging local schools to support Make-A-Wish virtually. A virtual wish week idea list for schools is available on the website.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation Connecticut Chapter grants the wishes of children diagnosed with life threatening medical conditions. Children in kindergarten through 12th grade can participate in Kids for Wish Kids, a program that develops project ideas to fundraise for the organization. Create your own event and/or recruit others to help. Volunteers don’t need to raise enough to sponsor a whole wish; every little bit helps a wish come true. A bake sale, pajama days, car wash, read-a-thon, or penny drives are all great ways to start raising money. The foundation is also always looking for adult volunteers to help out in several different roles from administrative support to wish granting. To apply for a volunteer position, go to ct.wish.org and look under the “Ways to Help” tab. For more information, call 203-261-9044. 56 Commerce Dr., Trumbull.

Volunteering Opportunities You Can Do Anywhere

The American Red Cross
The American Red Cross provides relief to individuals affected by disasters and helps people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies. Children ages 12 and older can start a Red Cross Club at their school. To learn more about Red Cross Clubs, email youthservicesnyc@redcross.org. For general volunteer information, call 877-733-2767 or visit the website.

DoSomething.org
The organization has information online about staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic while participating in campaigns and projects.

DoSomething.org is one of the largest organizations in the United States that helps young people rock causes they care about. Kids ages 12 and older take action all year through DoSomething’s campaigns and their own projects (apply here). For more information, call 212-254-2390 or visit dosomething.org.

Sponsor a Family
Ask your local Health Department, Town Hall, house of worship, or women’s shelter to supply information about a local family that could use some help during the holidays. Then take your kids holiday shopping for the family, choosing from a list of items they’d like or need.

Shovel snow, run errands, etc.
Encourage your kids to help a neighbor in need by shoveling snow, taking out the garbage and recyclables, delivering food, and more.

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