Meets pressing community needs by mobilizing caring New Yorkers in volunteer service.

Adjustments to Seasonal Events

Updates on our seasonal programs in light of COVID-19 and our current health and safety protocols. 

Three young volunteers sorting through donated winter coats for the New York Cares Coat Drive.

Once a year, events like the Coat Drive, Winter Wishes, and Cares Day for Schools occur as part of our broader work addressing inequality in the five boroughs. These programs have engaged individual and corporate volunteers in both in-person service and fundraising. In response to COVID-19, we have been creative and innovative in adapting these events. As always, the safety of our staff, volunteers, community partners, and the people we serve remain our top priority. We appreciate your flexibility as we ensure our events and programs are safe and appropriate for all involved.

Coat Drive

A citywide effort to collect and distribute winter coats to New Yorkers in need, the Coat Drive is one of our most cherished seasonal programs. To accommodate for social distancing and safety requirements, our primary goal in 2020 was raising funds to buy new coats for nonprofits and schools in areas most impacted by COVID-19 and the resulting economic instability. 

Cares Day for Schools 

Cares Day for Schools is a day of service in October, focused on revitalizing indoor and outdoor spaces at partner schools.  This year, due to safety concerns with indoor spaces, we cannot send large volunteer groups into schools. Our school partners have asked for school supplies, PPE, academic tutoring, and social-emotional support for students coping with trauma. A new initiative, Stand with Students, engages volunteers and supporters during the 2020-2021 school year. We hope to restart our revitalization efforts in schools as soon as it’s safe and appropriate to do so. 

Winter Wishes

Every year we organize a large holiday gift-giving event. Children and teens at our partner organizations write holiday letters, and we match these gift requests with volunteer wish-granters. This year, we provided gifts to a small group of community partners, focusing on family shelters, public housing facilities, and Title I schools in Central Queens, the South Bronx, and East Brooklyn.

Due to social distancing restrictions, this year’s program was smaller, and our corporate sponsors fulfilled all gift requests. We thank all our volunteers for their past participation in Winter Wishes (enjoy these messages from partners) and invite you to continue supporting students and schools by volunteering for education projects and other seasonal programs