As you settle back into your routine this fall, don’t wait until Thanksgiving to think about giving back to your community.
Fortunately, around New York City, there are ample opportunities to get involved and a make a positive difference, not only in your city, but also in your own life. If you are looking for nearby places to volunteer that impact a cause you’re passionate about, consider one of these organizations or programs.
The Lighthouse Guild, in the heart of Midtown, is a leading vision and healthcare organization that addresses the needs of people who are blind or visually impaired. There are numerous opportunities to volunteer with the group’s medical and vision services, the day treatment program, creative services, the Heilbrunn School, the comprehensive music program, and more. Check here for current opportunities offered during flexible day, evening, and weekend hours.
Social Tees Animal Rescue
Are you a dog or cat lover? Located at 325 E. 5th Street in the East Village, Social Tees Animal Rescue is a nonprofit, strictly no-kill organization that cares for abandoned animals and provides them with shelter and veterinary care before finding them long-term homes. All positions at Social Tees require a weekly commitment for at least six months, and all volunteers must be 21 or older. You can look for open positions and fill out an application here.
Dress for Success
This international nonprofit empowers women to achieve economic independence. Dress for Success’s New York Program has three sites in the city offering suiting and employment retention services: Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens. You can get involved by donating your gently used clothes, donating money, volunteering, mentoring, hosting a donation drive, or becoming a corporate partner. Learn more here.
Food Bank for New York City
Food Bank for New York City relies on volunteers to support approximately 1.5 million New Yorkers yearly. The organization has numerous ongoing and seasonal opportunities for people to serve their community as individuals or part of a group. Some tasks include sorting and repackaging food and products, preparing and serving meals, restocking shelves, shopping, or helping at senior breakfasts. Opportunities often fill up fast, so check the website frequently and sign up in advance.
Citymeals on Wheels
Established in 1981, Citymeals has spent more than three decades delivering weekend, holiday, and emergency meals to homebound elderly neighbors in New York City. To get involved, you must submit an application, including two references, and attend an orientation. You also can make monetary donations, 100 percent of which are used for preparation and delivery of meals. Go online to learn more about how you can get involved.
This organization uses a one-to-one, site-based mentoring model to connect adult mentors with young people to support and guide them in developing better self-esteem, making positive life choices, and creating healthy relationships. Mentors meet with their mentees for four to six hours each month in a supervised environment at a set time and location. To apply, you must be 18 or older, make a one-year commitment, and pass a criminal background check. You can start the application process here.
For more ideas about where to volunteer in New York City or to find the right fit, use VolunteerMatch’s search engine. There are hundreds of available opportunities for you to give back to your community in a way that is meaningful to you.