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 must remain a priority. All volunteers and organizations accepting volunteers must follow current 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.
  • You are required to quarantine due to a recent COVID-19 exposure or travel.
  • You are 65 years of age or older and unvaccinated.
  • You have an underlying health condition that increases your risk of severe COVID-19 illness, such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, cancer or a weakened immune system and are unvaccinated. For a full list of conditions, visit the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene's COVID-19 Prevention and Care webpage.

Older adults and New Yorkers with underlying health conditions who have been vaccinated can consider resuming volunteering activities; however, medium and large-group gatherings should still be avoided.

When You Volunteer

Remember the four key actions to prevent COVID-19 transmission:

  • Stay home if sick: Stay home if you are sick unless you are leaving for essential medical care (including testing) or other essential errands.
  • Physical distancing: Stay at least 6 feet away from other people.
  • Wear a face covering: Protect those around you by wearing a face covering. You can be contagious without symptoms and spread the disease when you cough, sneeze or even talk. A face covering may help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  • Practice healthy hand hygiene: Wash your hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available; clean frequently touched surfaces regularly; cover your cough or sneeze with your sleeve, not your hands.

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

All New Yorkers should get tested, whether or not you have symptoms or are at increased risk.

If your first COVID-19 test is negative, you should get tested again if you:

  • Are concerned about possible exposure;
  • Have spent time in a large crowd;
  • Have had exposure to someone with a confirmed diagnosis or possible exposure to COVID-19;
  • Have symptoms; and/or
  • Work in a congregate setting like a nursing home or shelter are planning to visit someone at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness.

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: March 27, 2021