Interested in volunteering during an emergency?

The Volunteer Coordination Task Force — led by NYC Service and in partnership with NYC Emergency Management, New York Cares and other partners — centralizes and coordinate volunteer efforts during emergencies. When coordinated, the power of volunteers is targeted to projects or areas in urgent need of help.

Before You Volunteer

Before volunteering, consider these tips:

  • If you're looking to help an organization, check first to confirm if they need volunteers.
  • Sometimes the best help you can be is checking in on a neighbor.
  • Review safety guidance from officials to avoid putting yourself or others in danger.
  • Stay informed.
    • For official emergency alerts and updates, sign up for Notify NYC, the City of New York's free, official emergency communications program.
    • For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit NYC.gov/coronavirus.

How to Help: COVID-19

Volunteers can help local organizations respond to emergencies in communities. The Volunteer Coordination Task Force can connect you to the most urgent projects in need of volunteers.

  • Non-medical volunteers are not being accepted at City-run vaccine point of distribution (PODs) sites at this time. 
  • If you are interested in volunteering to support COVID-19 relief, there are many opportunities to engage in service and support critical efforts around food insecurity, social isolation, and other issues. Register with New York Cares to volunteer
  • Reach out to neighbors, family, and friends to share facts about COVID-19 vaccines. For the most up-to-date information and resources, visit the NYC.gov/coronavirus.


Safety Guidance for Volunteers

The health and safety of volunteers is a priority. All volunteers and organizations accepting volunteers must follow current public health guidelines. For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit NYC.gov/coronavirus.

If any of the following conditions apply to you, stay home and do not sign up to volunteer:

  • You are sick or recently tested positive for COVID-19, even if you are vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • You are required to quarantine due to a recent COVID-19 exposure.

There is still community transmission of COVID-19. If you are not vaccinated against COVID-19 and are 65 years of age or older or have an underlying health condition that increases your risk of severe COVID-19 illness and decide to volunteer, make sure you wear a face covering and practice physical distancing at all times. Also consider volunteering in well-ventilated, non-crowded places, or ideally outdoors, to further reduce your risk of COVID-19 exposure. For a full list of conditions that increase risk for severe COVID-19, visit the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene's COVID-19 Prevention and Care webpage.

When You Volunteer

If you feel sick or recently tested positive for COVID-19, do not volunteer outside the home, even if you have been vaccinated.

If you are not vaccinated against COVID-19, wear a face covering and maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others at all times while volunteering. If you have been vaccinated, follow the rules of the organization you are volunteering with regarding face coverings and physical distancing. Even if not required, it is recommended that New Yorkers wear a face covering when indoors.

Also, practice healthy hand hygiene, including washing hands often with soap and water and using hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Hand hygiene is good public health practice whether or not you have been vaccinated.

After You Volunteer

Sign up to volunteer again (if possible).

Stay connected to the organization about future volunteer opportunities. During emergencies, volunteers that return to help have experience and knowledge that helps the organization meet community needs more efficiently.

Get tested for COVID-19 if you develop symptoms of COVID-19, whether or not you've been vaccinated. If you are not vaccinated, you should also get tested if you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or have frequent in-person interactions with others. View this webpage from the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene for more information about when to get tested for COVID-19.

More Resources

For more information about the City's response to COVID-19, including testing, vaccine distribution, and more, visit NYC.gov/coronavirus.

Last updated: January 3, 2022