Become a big
Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC (BBBS of NYC) is looking for mentors, or Bigs. Though the impact on young New Yorkers can be huge, the time commitment is pretty minimal: You’ll meet your mentee twice a month on your own schedule and serve as a positive influence and role model in the youth's life. Volunteers over the age of 21 will be matched with children between the ages of 7-17 living in all five boroughs. Currently, there’s a high demand for male volunteers to be matched with boys on the waitlist, and willingness to travel to the outer boroughs is a plus.
Spread Thanksgiving joy
Gobble Gobble Give 2018 will gather hundreds of New Yorkers on Thanksgiving morning to create Thanksgiving meals and organize canned food, toiletry, clothing, toy, and blanket donations that will be delivered throughout the city to families, shelters, and retirement communities. Volunteer roles vary, and each helper is required to bring a casserole-sized, Thanksgiving-inspired dish in a recyclable container, so start scrolling through Pinterest.
Bring meals to the elderly
Citymeals on Wheels is seeking volunteers for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. You’ll personally deliver meals to the homebound elderly and maybe even make a few new friends as you socialize with the meal recipients. Not around for the holidays? Citymeals on Wheels is also looking for people to chat weekly with seniors (free advice!) via phone or in person, make cards for special occasions and help with office work or meal prep in local senior centers.
Help new immigrants adjust to life in NYC
Cabrini Immigrant Services relies on volunteers to help immigrants acclimate to their new lives. Lend a hand in the food pantry, teach social media, basic Microsoft programs, and English to your new NYC neighbors, or share your knack for knitting, cooking, or whatever passion you’d like to pass along. English and Spanish speakers are welcome, and Cantonese translators are also in demand.
Fight hunger in New York City
The Food Bank of New York City has myriad options to help feed hungry New Yorkers. Sign up for a shift to organize a food pantry or to serve dinner at a community kitchen. Opportunities abound during the holidays, and FBNYC needs volunteers all year long, so carry that holiday generosity into 2019 and beyond.
Help out at a public school
New York Cares has ongoing calendar listings for both short- and long-term volunteers to help public school children and teens with math, reading, and other classroom activities. Early morning activities can easily fit into your work schedule and is your boss really going to be mad if you’re a few minutes late because you were helping a kid with their multiplication skills?
Support the trans community
The Trans Lifeline needs transgender people and cis allies over the age of 18 to act as phone operators and counselors to trans and gender nonconforming people in crisis. Help organize fundraisers, assist in administrative work, tech support, and training, or sign up to provide emotional support to phone operators.
Workout with adults and children with disabilities
Cancel that gym membership! Simultaneously give back and get fit with programs like KEEN (kids enjoy exercise now), which needs volunteers to coach teams and help with fitness activities. Sign up to bike with vision-impaired cyclists at InTandem bicycling and pair up with disabled runners via Achilles International.
Support LGBTQ youth
The Ali Forney Center for LGBTQ Youth has various three month long volunteer opportunities. Prepare meals any day of the week, assist in counseling, help organize the donation closet, and facilitate workshops. Any and all skills can help Ali Forney clients, 80% of whom have been kicked out of their homes after coming out.