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Volunteer opportunity description

In honor of the MLK National Day of Service, Food Bank For New York City will host a Virtual Day of Service on Monday, January 18th. During this event, volunteers are invited to join us from home via Zoom, uniting in an effort to write over 200 personal letters to New Yorkers in need.  

A kind note can make a huge impact for those facing food insecurity, especially as many are struggling with it for the first time due to COVID-19. These letters will be sent to Food Bank’s partner of over eight years, Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral, and distributed to their clients to remind them that their neighbors care.  

Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral is a historically black church in Jamaica, Queens that started with a small congregation in 1834. Today, they are a prominent member of the community operating several outreach programs, including their Street Ministry that manages food pantries throughout Queens.  

Food Bank For New York City is the largest hunger relief organization in NYC and partners with over 1,000 soup kitchens, food pantries, and schools to provide free meals to low-income New Yorkers across the five boroughs. This year, Food Bank has seen a huge increase in the need for accessible and nutritious food as New Yorkers have been affected by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of November 2020, the New York City unemployment rate was still at 14%, with 1 in 7 residents unable to find work.  

While the majority of Food Bank’s onsite volunteer programs remain suspended to best protect the safety of our volunteers, our Community Kitchen and Pantry in Harlem is continuing to distribute emergency pantry bags to residents in need. We launched our “Dear New York” letter writing program to connect volunteers with the clients who use our services. Since the program was launched in April, volunteers from across the country have written more than 8,000 letters of hope, solidarity, and encouragement to New Yorkers facing food insecurity.  

Our Virtual Day of Service for MLK Day 2021 is a continuation of the efforts we started with Dear New York: To ensure volunteers can still support their neighbors while staying safe and serving from home.  


  • WHAT TO EXPECT: Food Bank staff members will facilitate the virtual volunteer experience on Zoom, opening the event by sharing the story of Food Bank’s COVID-19 Response and why this personalized outreach is important. Volunteers will then have the opportunity to connect virtually in breakout rooms while writing Dear New York letters. Volunteers will be responsible for mailing their completed letters to the Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral (address provided at the event) and emailing to confirm the number of letters mailed.  

Upon request, volunteers can receive confirmation of 1 hour of volunteer service for attending this event, as well as additional service hours for the number of letters written (1 hour per 3 letters) once letters are mailed and reported by email.  

  • WHEN: Our Virtual Day of Service for MLK Day 2021 will take place via Zoom on Monday, January 18th, 2020 (MLK Day) from 11:00am to 12:00pm EST. We ask that all volunteers register in advance to receive the link to the virtual event.  

  • WHERE: This virtual event will be held via Zoom. A link will be shared by email with all registered volunteers prior to the event.  

  • WHO: Volunteers of all ages are welcome! This is a great opportunity for students and families.  

  • QUESTIONS?: Contact us at or 212-566-7855, ext. 5. 

ACCESSIBILITY: Food Bank For New York City strives to host inclusive, accessible events to fully engage all individuals. The introduction and welcome to this event will be given in English, with Spanish translation summaries available upon request in the Chat feature. If you would like to be placed with a Spanish-speaking facilitator during the breakout rooms portion of the service project, or if you have any other inquiries regarding accessibility or accommodation requests, please contact our team in advance at or 212-566-7855, ext. 5. 

ACCESIBILIDAD: Food Bank For New York City se esfuerza en organizar eventos, inclusivos y accesibles para todos. La bienvenida y la introduccion de nuestro evento será presentada en Ingles, con un resumen en Español disponible a pedido por la funcion de chat. Si le gustaria estar en una sala de reunion con un facilitador que hable Español o tiene alguna pregunta sobre accesibilidad comuniquese con un miembro de nuestro groupo lo mas pronto posible o llame 212-566-7855 ext.5.



All volunteers are responsible for their own stationery. 

Our volunteer needs

We need volunteers on these days:
January 15, 2021

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About the organization

Food Bank For New York City

Food Bank For New York City
Volunteer Engagement Team
212-566-7855 ext: 5
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