Ways to Help

This page was updated on April 7, 2020. Please keep checking back for the latest ways you can help.

Volunteers of America-Greater New York is dedicated to helping individuals and families in need create positive and lasting change through 80 social service programs that support and empower them to live safe, healthy and productive lives.

As the COVID-19 situation develops, our priority is to ensure the safety of our clients, staff and volunteers. (Read this letter from our President & CEO.) All volunteer activities scheduled to take place at VOA-Greater New York program sites through May 18, 2020 are postponed; we hope to reschedule them soon. In the meantime, there are other ways you can help during this time of uncertainty from the safety of your home.

Currently, our programs are in urgent need of cleaning products including sanitizing spray and wipes. Please email donations@voa-gny.org if you can help provide bulk quantities. We will continue to add new needs as they arise. We've also included a list at the bottom of this page of other organizations who are in need of volunteers to package and deliver meals.

As VOA-Greater New York continues to meet the daily needs of those we serve, including formerly homeless veterans, families escaping domestic violence, older adults and at-risk youth, we are experiencing extraordinary expenses, which we will continue to incur for a protracted period of time. Please donate today.


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    Help Older Adults Safely Restock Their Pantries

    For older adults living at our supportive housing residences, a trip to the supermarket can put their health at risk. Many are also feeling the loss of the meals and socialization provided by community centers, which are now closed. You can help ensure these individuals have safe access to nutritious food by purchasing a VISA e-gift card that our program staff can use at local stores to stock special communal pantries. Send all e-gift cards to donations@voa-gny.org and we will forward them straight to our staff. (Use promo code ‘Gratitude’ to eliminate the fee.)

    Buy Now
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    Support Operation Backpack®

    Operation Backpack® is critical to New York City’s homeless students. In light of the current situation, these children’s families will be especially hard-pressed to buy school supplies this year. Of the approximately 19,000 backpacks we need each year, we typically count on receiving 9,000 full backpacks from public drives – drives which may now be delayed, if not cancelled. As a campaign that is 100% community funded, we need your help to ensure Operation Backpack® 2020 can meet the need. Click the button below to make a donation or set up your own fundraising team.

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    Keep Residents Engaged While Social Distancing

    Adhering to guidelines, many of our supportive housing residents are spending hours alone in their room each day. Help them stay engaged and pass the time with books, games, puzzles and other activities. Order from the wish list below and the items will ship directly to a VOA-Greater New York program. We will change the delivery address to a new program and reset the quantities once all items on the list have been purchased.

    Order Now
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    Write a Message of Hope

    As essential workers, VOA-Greater New York staff are on the front lines of this pandemic every day, setting aside their own fears and anxieties to ensure the men, women and children we serve are cared for and safe. Write a message of encouragement that we can share with staff or clients to help lift their spirits. We are all in this together!

    Write a Message
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    Order Books and Other Activities for Kids

    Help keep children in our family shelters occupied during this time spent at home – without the distraction of school, friends or group playtime – by ordering books, coloring sheets, stickers, games and other activities for them to do. Order from the wish list below and the items will ship directly to one of our four family shelters throughout New York City.

    Order Now
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    Stay in Touch With Us

    Subscribe to our e-newsletter, "Inside Look," to learn about the latest ways to get involved. We'll also send you inspiring stories and videos about our clients, news and updates from VOA-Greater New York, informative articles written by our in-house experts, and more.

    Sign Up

In-Person Volunteer Opportunities