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

COVID-19 Updates

Our Programming and Response to COVID-19

(Updated as of March 24, 2020)

At New York Cares, we know our city is at its best when we work together to address the most pressing needs of our communities. New Yorkers step up in times of uncertainty. It happened after 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy, and we see the same response for COVID-19. 

We know our work is vital now more than ever as our city’s most vulnerable residents are disproportionately affected. As the city’s lead agency designated by New York City Emergency Management for mobilizing volunteers in cases of citywide emergencies, we are staying in regular communication with city agencies on how we can make the most direct and meaningful impact at this time.  

We are committed to harnessing the passions of caring New Yorkers in a way that supports their safety and the safety of the people we serve. Because many of our programs provide necessities such as meal delivery, New York Cares has not canceled all programming at this time, unless a partner has chosen to do so. 

Volunteering During New York State on PAUSE

As we face the challenge of combatting COVID-19, our government is taking necessary action to protect the safety of New Yorkers. With the enactment of New York State on PAUSE, all non-essential workers are directed to work from home, and everyone is required to maintain a 6-foot distance in public. New York Cares serves in a critical capacity by providing services to vulnerable populations in coordination with NYC Emergency Management (NYCEM), NYC Volunteer Coordination Task Force, and NYC Service.  

According to Executive Order 202.6not only are hunger/food insecurity programs and homeless shelters deemed essential businesses (and are therefore exempt from order), so are human service providers and other agencies providing aid to economically disadvantaged New Yorkers. New York Cares falls under this category.  

We are actively following the safety guidance from the city’s Volunteer Coordination Task Force by instituting safety requirements for our Community Partners and the following updated safety requirements for our volunteers:  

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

  • You are sick  
  • You are over 50 years old or have chronic health conditions, including chronic lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer or a weakened immune system  

We recognize that we have many volunteers who are over 50. We deeply value your continued support but must follow city policy to continue operating during this state of emergency while doing our part to protect public health. If you are asked to (or choose to) stay home for the safety of our community, we are exploring remote/digital volunteer opportunities that we hope to share with you soon. These projects may include: 

  • Phone banking to support seniors living in isolation 
  • Virtual learning to support students from home 
  • On-the-ground packaging and meal deliveries to those experiencing food insecurity. 

Thank You for Caring for One Another 

We continue to be awed by the volunteers, Team Leaders, and our Community Partners for their ongoing efforts to keep their fellow New Yorkers healthy, whether that’s by staying home if feeling unwell or uncomfortable, or volunteering while following our safety requirements. 

We acknowledge that there will be long term effects as a result of COVID-19 and remain committed to supporting the needs of our partners while ensuring the safety of our volunteers and the communities we serve. 

As we’ve experienced as a city, this is an ever-changing situation, and we will continue to update you with new developments on our programming as they become available. 

As always, if you have any questions, please contact us at

We are here to make service accessible, meaningful, and impactful at every opportunity. 


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Health and safety requirements

Be sure to read our updated health and safety requirements for volunteers, Team Leaders, and Community Partners