FAQ

1.   When and where does Don’t Walk By take place?

Don't Walk By's Winter Outreach Schedule is: 

  • Feb 3 - Downtown Outreach (New York Chinese Alliance Church: 162 Eldridge St, 10002)
  • Feb 10 - Westside Outreach (Calvary Baptist Church: 123 W 57th St, 10019)
  • Feb 17 - Eastside Outreach (Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church: 7 W 55th St, 10019)
  • Feb 24 - Uptown Outreach (Salvation Army Harlem Temple: 540 Lenox Ave, 10037)

You can also sign up for Weekly Don't Walk By, happening every Thursday night. 

2.   How does the outreach work?

  • Volunteers are divided into two volunteer areas: Street & Subway Engagement teams, and Hospitality volunteers.
  • Each week of outreach, DWB covers a specific section of Manhattan – Downtown, Uptown, Westside, Eastside – and the overall area is broken into subzones of about a 10×10 block radius.
  • On the day of the outreach, and after a short training, the Street and Subway Engagement teams are sent out to their designated subzones to find men and women experiencing homeless or who need help. 
  • When a potential guest is met, the team explains the outreach and invites the person back to the anchor church.
  • If the person wants to be transported, the engagement team will contact transportation who will arrange to take the person to the anchor church.
  • At the anchor church, the hospitality room volunteers are ready to serve the guest with a smile, food, clothing, medical treatment, legal aid, and more.
  • Case workers from Rescue Alliance member organization invite guests to receive assessments, help direct guests to resources, and complete shelter intake to New York City Rescue Mission.
  • At the end of the night, guests who choose to enter shelter are transported and hosted at New York City Rescue Mission.

3.   What is the day-of schedule of the outreach?

  • 1:30pm – Volunteers arrive for check-in and team assignments
  • 2:00pm – Training begins
  • 3:00pm – Engagement teams sent out to zones, Hospitality volunteers prep for homeless guests
  • 4:00pm – Homeless guests begin to arrive at anchor church
  • 6:00pm – Engagement teams return to anchor church to return undistributed materials and debrief; outreached guests transported to shelter/detox/etc.,
  • 8:30pm – Outreach ends, Clean-up

Please arrive no later than 2:00pm

4.   What are the types of volunteer positions?

  • Outreach Team Leaders

Outreach Team leaders are in charge of directing, supporting, and empowering their team members to engage and serve our homeless neighbors.  Teams are assigned to specific zones of city blocks to walk and to seek out anyone who might be in need of a friend. Team leaders stay in contact with DWB leaders at the Anchor Church, coordinate transportation of guests to the church, and make sure that all documentation is completed for DWB records.

We encourage team leaders to participate in our Weekly Don’t Walk By outreaches to get more hands-on experience serving our homeless neighbors.

  • Street Engagement

Street Engagement Volunteers walk the streets of Manhattan looking to befriend, listen to, and pray for anyone who might be in need of comfort or care. Outreach teams invite our homeless neighbors back to the anchor church where they can receive additional resources and potentially stay in a safe, warm bed that night.

  • Subway Engagement

Subway engagement volunteers search specific subway stations and train line looking to befriend, listen to, and pray for anyone who might be in need of comfort or care. Subway engagement volunteers must have a personal Metrocard to use to get into subway stations during the outreach. Outreach teams invite our homeless neighbors back to the anchor church where they can receive additional resources and potentially stay in a safe, warm bed that night.

  • Hospitality Volunteer

Hospitality volunteers serve in various roles serving guests at the anchor church with compassion and love. Hospitality teams provide a smile, meal, clothing, medical treatment, resources, and more to the homeless guests that arrive off the streets. Hospitality Volunteers will receive the opportunity to sign up for a specific assignment the week before Don’t Walk By. We cannot guarantee specific roles within hospitality ahead of time.

There will be 100% engagement with the population we are trying to engage with. You should be prepared to smile, converse with, be helpful to, and serve with joy. 

Prayer Team is part of Hospitality; we will have a prayer station but encourage you to go around to ask guests if they would like prayer.

  • Transportation

The transportation team drives guests to the anchor church from the place where street or subway engagement teams met them. Transportation vehicles also help transport volunteers to their assigned zones and take guests to overnight shelter.

We always need more vans to help with transportation during the outreach. If your church/family/organization has a van, minivan, and can offer a driver, we could use it.

  • Skilled Roles—Medical, Translation, Social Workers

We need skilled volunteers to support our partner organizations fulfilling meeting the tangible needs of our homeless neighbors. This includes medical professionals, translators for Spanish and Chinese, as well as social workers.

Volunteers in this role will be required to provide appropriate credentials/certification in order to serve as a skilled professional.

You are welcome to register for multiple Saturdays of outreach. However, it is only possible to sign up for ONE role per Saturday.  If you sign up to be a team leader, we would love if you could be a team leader for multiple Saturdays if possible.

5.   How old do you have to be to volunteer?

You must be 18 years or older to be a Don’t Walk By Volunteer. If you would like to bring someone under the age of 18, please email hello@rescuealliance.nyc

6.   How are the Street and Subway teams assigned?

Each team is assigned to a sub-zone (roughly a 10×10 block radius) or subway line in the area of outreach. Two small groups of four people including the Team Leaders are one team. We take Team Leader requests and group affiliation into account while creating teams, but we ultimately make the teams based on the subzones and how many team leaders and volunteers are available. We will do our best but we cannot guarantee that you will be put with whom you requested. Please make sure you know your team leader's name upon registering.

7.   Can volunteers switch teams? 

While group affiliations are taken into account when assigning outreach teams, Don’t Walk By assigns teams with specific safety constraints in mind and to best serve our homeless neighbors (i.e. co-ed groups, 4-5 people per group, etc). We recommend having 1 team leader for every 3-4 people in your group. DWB coordinators will assign your team to a specific zone to walk. You may be placed on another team than your choosing, so we thank you in advance for your graciousness and flexibility!

8.   When, where and what is Team Leader training?

Team Leaders are given more responsibility during the outreach and thus attend a training that helps them better lead their team. We go over safety concerns, good leadership tactics, outreach strategy, and more. Street and Subway Team leaders are depended upon to keep the teams organized, safe and excited during the outreach.  Hospitality Team leaders help create a welcoming and engaging atmosphere for guests who come for a hot meal and other assistance at the Anchor Church. 

You are welcome to register for multiple Saturdays of outreach (but only one role per Saturday is possible).  If you sign up to be a team leader, we would love if you could be a team leader for multiple Saturdays if possible.

9.   Do I need to create a team or have a team to be a team leader?

No, you do not need to have a team or create one in order to serve as a team leader. We need many team leaders to assign to teams. The option to create a team is there for churches and organizations who would like to volunteer together.

10.   How do I register to volunteer?

Registration opens December 1st!   Follow this link to register. 

You may register for multiple days but will need to sign up for each day separately.

11.  Can I register a group of volunteers?

We would love for you to sign up with your church, community group, or group of friends to volunteer. To ensure that your team will be together:

  • Make sure you have 4 people in your group and no more than 2 males or 2 females per group. You may have two groups of 4 to make a full team but you will need one team leader per group of 4.
  • Decide on an outreach date.
  • Choose a team leader who will attend a mandatory team leader training.

  • Each person on your team will still need to register individually but fill in the team leader name in the form. You can also opt to serve in a team with members of your church as there are often multiple teams from the same church.

  • Flexibility is key. While group affiliations are taken into account when assigning outreach teams, Don’t Walk By assigns teams with specific safety constraints in mind and to best serve our homeless neighbors (i.e. co-ed groups, 6-8 people per group, etc). We recommend having one team leader for every 3-4 people in your group. DWB coordinators will assign your team to a specific zone to walk. You may be placed on another team than your choosing, so we thank you in advance for your graciousness and flexibility!

12. Can I register to volunteer for multiple Saturdays?

Yes, we’d love for you to volunteer for each Saturday. It will be a fun way for you to try different volunteer positions, just not on the same day. We especially encourage Team Leaders to stay as team leaders since it will provide experienced consistency for the other volunteers and enable you to be a better leader.

13.  How do I change or remove my registration to volunteer? 

If you are unable to volunteer for the date that you registered for, please email hello@rescuealliance.nyc as far in advance of the outreach as possible. We encourage you to sign up for another date! Last minute cancellations are strongly discouraged.

 14.  Do you take walk-in volunteers?

If you would like to volunteer, you must register ahead of time. There is no guarantee that you will get to volunteer if you have not registered. Please be advised that we may have to turn you away.

15.   Does it cost anything to volunteer?

It is free to volunteer for Don’t Walk By.

 16.   Do I have to know how to do street ministry?

No. Our goal is to inspire and equip everyday New Yorkers to volunteer and learn about the poor and marginalized in our city. We will have a training the day of the outreach that fills you in on everything you need to know. Your Team Leader and all of our staff will be ready to answer any questions you may have.

17.   Can my entire family volunteer?

Due to the nature of this outreach and our safety concerns,  no one under the age of 18 may volunteer for the outreach. However, some of partner organizations may have family friendly volunteer opportunities. You can visit them on the Partners page.

18.  What should I bring to the outreach?

Please limit personal items to things you can carry during the outreach as we cannot be responsible for keeping them for you.

We will have homeless care kits on hand at the outreach for you to give out so you may want to bring a backpack or shopping bag to carry these in.

Please note: We will not be receiving donations on the day of the outreach.

19.  What is in a hygiene kit?

Basic essentials in compact sizes packed in resealable bags including all or some of the following:

  • Soap (liquid, travel size)
  • Shampoo (travel size)

  • Deodorant

  • Toothpaste

  • Toothbrush

  • Shaving cream (travel size)

  • Razors

20.  What is a Don’t Walk By resource card?

It is a small card containing information about where a person can receive care (food, clothing, showers, shelter, etc.) on any given day during the week, month or year. The cards are given out to the homeless during the outreach. Whether a person comes back to the anchor church or not, they can keep this card to help them in times of need. We also encourage our volunteers to carry them year-round and hand them out whenever they encounter someone who needs help.  Email hello@rescuealliance.nyc to request resource cards. 

21.   Are there other volunteer opportunities aside from the four dates in February?

YES! Don't Walk By is now offering weekly opportunities to serve through New York City Relief. The goal is slightly different from Don’t Walk By’s annual outreach as there is no anchor church to invite someone back to receive services. Instead, the focus will be on engagement. To register for these monthly outreaches, please visit New York City Relief or email hello@rescuealliance.nyc

Don’t Walk By is planned and executed by a partnership of organizations that offer volunteer opportunities year-round. At the end of every outreach night, there will be representatives from each organization with information about how you can get involved. You can also be linked to their websites on our Partners page by clicking through each organization’s logo or by signing up for their news and updates when you register.

Have a question that we didn’t answer here? Just email us at hello@rescuealliance.nyc and we will do our best to get back to you with something helpful. Thanks!