Don't Walk By
Don't Walk By is an annual winter outreach to the hurting & homeless in New York City led by Rescue Alliance NYC. Each February, DWB mobilizes over 1,000 volunteers to engage our neighbors in need and invite them to receive compassionate care and opportunities to find an alternative life.
How to Participate
We welcome registrations of individuals or couples who want to participate in Don't Walk By. We'll match you up with a team leader, and you'll make new friends while serving.
If you are a medical professional, please let us know on your registration.
GROUPS & CHURCHES
Small groups and churches can register together if they have a designated team leader for every 3-4 people in the group. Street outreach teams are typically 8-10 people, which includes two team leaders. We ask groups to come up with team names. Every member of the team must register individually and list the team name.
HOW IT WORKS
- 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.
1:00pm : Team Leader Check-In
1:30pm : Volunteers Check-In and Live Music
2:00pm : Volunteer Orientation
Please arrive no later than 2:00pm
2:30-3:00pm : Volunteers Released & Outreach Begins
Street Outreach Teams walk their assigned areas, meeting individuals who might need help.
Hospitality Teams welcome guests arriving at Anchor Church and serve hot meals, distribute clothing, and offer basic medical care.
6:00pm : Outreach Teams return to Anchor Church to report back on their experience, debrief with their team, and meet volunteer representatives from Rescue Alliance partner organizations to find out to serve our homeless neighbors beyond Don't Walk By.
8:00pm : Begin Clean-Up
Outreach Teams & Hospitality Teams are dismissed either by the Don't Walk By Coordinator or the designated leader of their areas. All hospitality volunteers are expected to stay until 8:00pm unless otherwise directed by organizers.
How to Prepare
Check the weather and dress accordingly.
Please wear warm clothing and comfortable walking shoes, especially if you are on a Street Engagement or Subway Team, you will be walking a lot! If it’s a cold day, wear a hat, scarf, gloves, and something to cover your ears.
Also recommended, but not required, is some sort of backpack or a shopping/soft bag to carry the homeless care kits that you will be giving out.
Communication is very important.
- Come with your phones fully charged as they will come in handy throughout the outreach. Street teams will share contact information to ensure everyone stays connected.
- We update teams via text and Twitter.
(i.e. We are out of coats but still have a hot meal and plenty of gloves left)
- Street & Subway teams, download our Reporter app which replaces the team data cards:
- We also have an event app to help you keep all you need to know in one place. Download our free event app “Whova” in the Google Play Store or Apple App Store to have easy access to event details such as schedule, maps, share photos, connect with other volunteers and for details related to the outreach. Registered volunteers will receive an email with an access code to use find the event.
Most of what you’ll need to know and have, we will provide. All we ask is that you come ready to serve!
WHAT TO BRING
Street Outreach & Subway Team
- An unlimited or regular Metrocard with you to the outreach. We will not provide cards for transportation unless there is an emergency.
- You will be given a snack bar and small bottle of water upon going out on the street or subway engagement, you may want to bring more of your own. Coffee, tea, hot chocolate will be available when you return from your outreach back to the host church to debrief with your team.
- If you have, you may bring a gently-used, clean coat in dark colors we need them! These can be dropped off on the day of the outreach at the clothing section in Hospitality. Large and Extra Large men’s coats in dark colors are the best sizes to have. No smaller sizes are needed. If you also have a pair of gently used men’s shoes or pants or sweaters in large sizes and dark colors, we welcome those as well.
- If you would like to pack your own hygiene /care kit to give out (we will have some for you) you are welcome to do so.
Please don't bring large personal items that you cannot carry on your person during the outreach. We can’t be responsible for storing them at the events. Do not bring valuables.