FAQ

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

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

  • Feb 4 - Westside Outreach (Calvary Baptist Church: 123 W.57th St, 10019)
  • Feb 11 – Eastside Outreach (Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church: 7 W.55th St, 10019)
  • Feb 18 – Downtown Outreach (New York Chinese Alliance Church: 162 Eldridge St, 10002)
  • Feb 25 – 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 and soup, the Street and Subway Engagement teams are sent out to their designated subzones to find the homeless.
  • When a homeless guest is met, the team explains the outreach and invites the person back to the anchor church.
  • If the person wants to be transported, your 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, resource assessments, and more.
  • The guest is hosted and then given the opportunity to enter a private shelter for the night.
  • The following day each guest sent to a shelter is greeted with breakfast by our Follow Up Team and given further opportunity to enter a life transforming program.

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

4.   What are the types of volunteer positions?

  1. Team Leaders
    1. Role:
      1. Leads a team of either Street Engagement, Subway Engagement, or Hospitality volunteers
        1. Street or Subway team leaders leads an assigned team through and assigned subzone or train line.
        2. Hospitality team leaders assigned an area in hospitality (i.e. greeter, table host, runner, monitor)
      2. Responsible for the team assigned to you
      3. Responsible to enable your team to carry out the duties assigned to your area within the framing of the vision and mission of Don’t Walk By.
    2. Qualifications:
      1. 21 years of age or older
      2. A follower of Christ.  
      3. Must attend ONE of the following set training sessions all held at Hope for NY Office (1166 Ave of the Americas Suite 1610)
        1. Tues Jan 17 - 6pm-9pm
        2. Thurs Jan 19 - 6pm-9pm
    3. Should be able to multi-task and delegate tasks as appropriate and fitting to team members. 
    4. Be flexible as things don’t always go smoothly. 
    5. For street & Subway: Ability to walk in possible inclement weather for about 3 hours.
    6. For Hospitality: friendly, ability to engage guests in conversation and stay calm under chaotic conditions
    7. Your priorities are:
      1. To ensure the safety of your team
      2. To be prepared from training and know all the material you are given
      3. Delegate to your team – give out assignments and tasks
      4. Help keep the morale of your team up by encouraging and reminding them of the mission and greater goal
      5. Keep the team on its mission and cover your assigned zone/area.
      6. For street/subway team leaders, be the contact person for transportation.
  2. Street Engagement
    1.  Walks approximately 10×10 block radius your assigned team on a search and rescue mission to find the homeless
    2. 18 yrs or older
    3. Ability to walk in possible inclement weather for about 3 hours.
    4. Ability to follow the lead of your assigned team leader.
  3.  Subway Engagement
    1. Rides a subway line / or walks the subway platforms and stations (at your team leader’s direction) with team on search and rescue mission to find the homeless.
    2. 18 yrs old or older
    3. Have a personal Metrocard to use (we are unable to provide these for you)
  4. Hospitality Volunteer
    1. You will serve at the anchor church to provide a smile, meal, clothing, medical treatment, resources, and more to the homeless guests that arrive off the streets. Specific assignments will be given at training / orientation.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
  5. Medical Professionals
    1. We need 4 of each: Medical doctors, registered nurses, physician assistants, and nurse practitioners. If you are medical student, counselor, or other medical professional, please sign up as a hospitality volunteer and note your specialty.
  6. Transportation
    1. 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.
    2. Works at the anchor church to provide a smile, meal, clothing, medical treatment, resources, and more to the homeless guests that arrive off the streets. Specific assignments will be given at training orientation.
    3. Must be at least 16 yrs old

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

  • 16+ Hospitality
  • 18+ for Street or Subway Engagement
  • 21+ Team Leader

6.   How are the Street and Subway teams assigned?

Each team is assigned to a subzone (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 all agree on and enter in the correct team name.

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. 

There will be four training sessions in January and you must attend one of them in order to be a team leader.

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 is open! 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:

  1. 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 team but you will need one team leader per group of 4.

  2.  Decide on an outreach date to volunteer.
  3. Determine if your group will be doing Street or Subway Engagement and inform all team members to select this choice when registering.
  4. Choose a team name and designate a team leader (age 21+) who will attend a mandatory team leader training.
  5. Each person on your team will still need to register individually but enter in the team name that you have determined together ahead of time. If there are multiple teams from the same church, please create unique team names.
  6. 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 1 team leader for every 6-8 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!
  7. If you do not have a group of at least 6 and would like to be grouped with others, please list their names when you register. We will do our best to honor those requests.

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. We will do our best to accommodate walk-ins, but 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 regular 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 are 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 16 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.

19.  What is in a homeless care kit?

Basic essentials in compact sizes packed in large resealable bags (such as ziplock, drawstring, or durable plastic bags with handles) are best to put the items in may include all or some of the following:

  1. Soap (liquid, travel size)
  2. Shampoo (travel size)
  3. Deodorant
  4. Toothpaste
  5. Toothbrush
  6. Shaving cream (travel size)
  7. Razors
  8. Individually wrapped, healthy snack

Additional helpful items that are not required include:

  • Underwear (all sizes)
  • Socks (black)
  • Hats
  • Gloves
  • Coats (Sizes L, XL or 2XL)

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 try to get back to you with something helpful. Thanks!