Don't Walk By


Don't Walk By is an annual winter outreach to New Yorkers surviving on the street. We are currently in our 11th year. Every February, Rescue Alliance mobilizes over 1,000 volunteers to meet and serve our neighbors on the street and invite them to receive compassionate care and support towards sustainable independent living. 

How to Participate



We welcome registration of individuals and pairs 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 consider signing up to be one during Don’t Walk By



Small groups and churches can register together. It would be ideal, if you have a designated team leader for every 3-4 people in the group. Street outreach teams are typically 10 volunteers, including two team leaders. Every member of the team must be registered and provide the First and Last name of the team leader. We will do our best to place you in a team with your group or church, but realistically we cannot guarantee it.



  • General volunteers are divided into two areas: Outreach (street and subway) volunteers, and Hospitality volunteers.

  • Each Saturday in February, Don’t Walk By covers a different quadrant of Manhattan – Downtown, Uptown, West Side, East Side – and the overall area is broken into subzones of about a 10×10 block radius.

  • On the day of the outreach, after a short training, our Outreach volunteers are sent out to their designated subzones equipped with resource cards and an outreach kit (bags with hats, gloves, socks, scarves) to meet and serve New Yorkers surviving on the street.

  • After the initial introduction and gift, our Outreach volunteers explains Don’t Walk By and then invites the person back to the host site.

  • If the person needs to be transported, the Outreach Team Leader will contact our logistics hub to arrange to take the person to the host site.

  • At the host site, our hospitality volunteers are ready to serve the guest with a smile, offer them a meal, a winter coat, and connect them with our in-house partners for 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 All Angels Church or New York City Rescue Mission.

  • At the end of the night, guests who choose to enter shelter are transported and hosted at either All Angels Church or New York City Rescue Mission. Guests then have an opportunity for up to 7 additional nights at New York City Rescue Mission.



12:00pm : Team Leader Check-In

12:30pm : General Volunteers Check-In and Live Music

1:30pm : General Orientation

Please arrive no later than 1:00pm

3:00pm : Outreach Volunteers Hit the Streets

3:30pm : Meals begin to be served. All partner services are available.

Outreach Teams canvas their assigned areas, meeting individuals who might need help. 

Hospitality Teams welcome guests arriving at host site and serve hot meals, distribute clothing, and offer basic medical care. 

6:30pm : Outreach Teams return to host site to dialogue about their experiences, debrief with their teams, and meet volunteer representatives from Rescue Alliance partner organizations to find out ways to serve beyond Don't Walk By. 

7:30pm : Wrap Up and Clean Up

8:30pm : End

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 8:30pm unless otherwise directed by Don’t Walk By personnel. 




How to Prepare

Check the weather and dress accordingly. 

Please wear warm clothing and comfortable walking shoes, especially if you are an Outreach Volunteer or Team Leader, you will be walking a lot! Check the weather, 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 outreach 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. Outreach 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)

Most of what you’ll need to know and have, we will provide. All we ask is that you come ready to serve!



Outreach Volunteers

  • An unlimited or regular Metrocard will be beneficial. 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 quick food items for while you are out. Coffee/tea/hot chocolate and more snacks will be available when you return to the host site at 6:30pm to debrief with your team.

General Items

  • 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 are unable to properly store them during the outreach. Do not bring unnecessary valuables.