Volunteers play a central role in powering Food Bank’s mission. Whether filing tax returns for low-income New Yorkers, writing a letter of hope to our pantry clients, or advocating through social media, you can make an impact in many ways with Food Bank For New York City!
Food Bank For New York City’s free citywide tax assistance program helps low-income families and individuals take a significant step from food poverty toward self-sufficiency. In the last 15 years, Food Bank’s tax program has put more than $1 billion back into the pockets of hardworking New Yorkers. We rely on dedicated volunteers to support this work. Last year, 300 volunteers helped prepare returns for thousands of filers!
We will be offering three models of tax filing services for Tax Season 2022: CONTACTLESS IN-PERSON (working onsite alongside other volunteers to file returns dropped off in advance by clients), SOCIAL DISTANCED IN-PERSON (working onsite alongside volunteers to file returns brought in day of by clients), and VIRTUAL (serving remotely from your personal computer to file returns submitted virtually by clients).
Whether you have professional financial experience, are studying in a related field, or are excited to gain new skills, we want YOUR help this tax season! Food Bank For New York City provides free training and IRS tax certification to allow volunteers of all backgrounds to get involved.
As a volunteer tax preparer with Food Bank, you will:
- Return an average of $35,000 in refunds to low-income New Yorkers to help put the next meal on the table.
- Obtain FREE IRS tax certification and transferrable financial skills.
- Choose between Contactless In-Person and Virtual VITA shifts, with options available six days a week.
- Build relationships with members of your community and fellow tax volunteers at weekly sessions from January-April.
- Receive a certificate of completion from the IRS and reference letter from Food Bank.
BECOME A SOCIAL MEDIA AMBASSADOR
Food Bank’s Social Media Ambassador Program is a way for volunteers to amplify resources for New Yorkers facing food insecurity, boost Food Bank’s mission on social media, and advocate by using their voices creatively and intentionally online – all while earning volunteer service hours.
Volunteers choose actions to complete (which range from sharing our Food Finder Map, to posting a selfie in orange for Hunger Awareness, to simply commenting on a Food Bank post), tag #FoodBankAmbassador, and document with screenshots to earn service hours for posting.
WRITE A LETTER OF HOPE
Food Bank launched the Dear New York Program as a way for volunteers to connect with our clients virtually. Volunteers from New York City and across the country have contributed over 13,000 letters of hope, solidarity, and encouragement to be distributed along with emergency pantry bags to New Yorkers in need. We provide a downloadable Dear New York Toolkit with everything you need to get started.
Food Bank’s Volunteer Engagement Team also hosts interactive Dear New York Letter-Writing Parties via Zoom with schools and corporate partners. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
BE A VOLUNTEER TAX PREPARER
Food Bank’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program has put more than $1 billion back into the pockets of low-income New Yorkers, and we rely on over 300 dedicated volunteers each tax season to support this impactful anti-poverty work.
This Tax Season, Food Bank will be offering three models of tax filing services: Contactless In-Person (working onsite alongside other volunteers to file returns dropped off in advance by clients), Social Distanced In-Person (working onsite alongside volunteers to file returns brought in day of by clients), and Virtual (serving remotely from your personal computer to file returns submitted virtually by clients). NOTE: Volunteers must present proof of vaccination for in-person volunteer shifts.
JOIN A VIRTUAL SERVICE EVENT
Food Bank hosts largescale Virtual Service Hours on Zoom, bringing together volunteers from across the country to join in impactful virtual service activities. These events pair virtual service with educational panel conversations on food insecurity topics with guest speakers.
Recent virtual events have included our Virtual Day of Service for MLK Day with guest speaker Reverend Rasheed Baird, and People Get Periods: A Virtual Service Hour and Conversation on Period Poverty with US Congresswoman Grace Meng.
Stay tuned for upcoming virtual events!
Due to COVID-19, Food Bank has temporarily suspended many of our traditional onsite volunteer opportunities to protect the safety of our staff, clients, and volunteers. We currently do not have public volunteer shifts available at our Community Kitchen & Pantry in Harlem or at our Warehouse & Distribution Center in the Bronx.
However, we have continued to engage our dedicated volunteer base – and expand this base beyond the bounds of New York City to connect with hundreds of new volunteers across the country – by launching new virtual service opportunities. As we look forward to a time when we can safely relaunch our onsite programs, we invite you to view the Virtual Opportunities tab!
Food Bank continues to evaluate the best timeline for a safe relaunch of in-person volunteer programs – please check back here for an update when onsite shifts reopen!
CUSTOMIZE A VOLUNTEER PROGRAM
Organizations can partner with Food Bank to build a unique team volunteer experience. Food Bank has designed and delivered custom opportunities to groups in corporate offices, schools, community organizations, and many other locations. Through the pandemic, Food Bank has also developed engaging virtual events for groups to serve together from home. Programs are fully customizable to any group’s needs: large or small groups, family-friendly events, or corporate team-building retreats.
Customized projects include a sponsorship fee. To learn more, contact Jessica Presedo, Associate Director of Corporate Service & Engagement, at email@example.com. Interested organizations with limited budgets are encouraged to contact firstname.lastname@example.org or check out public volunteer opportunities and events.
BUILD EMPATHY THROUGH A FACE HUNGER™ SIMULATION
Gather a team of 10-25 people to share in the Virtual Face Hunger™ Simulation – a highly interactive experience which raises awareness and understanding of hunger and its many causes.
In this workshop, participants receive a profile packet with information about the identity, income, and available resources of a person at risk of hunger. Each participant embodies a person experiencing hunger through a series of exercises, facing the challenge to provide nutritious meals for their family. Face Hunger™ participants also debrief with a group discussion on their experience to walk away with a new understanding of hunger in New York City.
Each simulation for up to 25 participants asks for a sponsorship fee of $2,500.