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Volunteer FAQ


Thank you for your interest in volunteering at The Bowery Mission. Here are some frequently asked questions and related answers about serving with us.

You can also view our full set of volunteer guidelines.



  • What should I expect when I arrive at The Bowery Mission?

    As The Bowery Mission cares for our most vulnerable neighbors, we are supported by volunteers in activities adjusted for social distancing and safety.

    Volunteers must be healthy to serve. You should not volunteer if you or someone in your household:

    • Have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 10 days.
    • Have experienced any cold or flu-like symptoms or gastrointestinal issues in the last 10 days (for a full list of symptoms click here).
    • Have been in contact with a person diagnosed with or showing symptoms of COVID-19 within the last 14 days.

    We have put in place important safety measures and ask that you help us maintain the following:

    • All volunteers must be 18 years or older to serve.
    • No person with a prior felony in any state, will be able to volunteer.
    • No person with court-ordered community service requirements or papers will be accommodated.
    • No person will be able to volunteer within one year of receiving any services from The Bowery Mission.

    View one of the two walkthrough videos below depending on the location you signed up for! These will familiarize you to the set up of our campuses and adequately prepare you to serve with ease.

  • Where is The Bowery Mission located?

    Including our flagship Bowery Campus on Manhattan's Lower East Side, The Bowery Mission is actively providing programs and services at six campuses in New York City. We also have a camp and retreat center in the Poconos Region of Pennsylvania. For campus addresses, please visit, and for more information about our programs, please visit

    For the most up to date public transportation options, please visit and/or

  • What should I wear to my volunteer service?

    Volunteers must arrive dressed appropriately for the work they will be performing. Our dress code exists to protect volunteer safety, follow safety standards, and show respect to our clients. Volunteers arriving dressed inappropriately may not take part in activities unless suitable accommodations can be made.

    Meal Service: Kitchen dress code is critical to ensure the safety of our volunteers as well as to preserve the quality of the food. Volunteers must wear:

    • Closed-toed shoes
    • Clothing that completely cover chest, shoulders, underarms, torso and knees
    • Hairnets (provided by The Bowery Mission) or a hat/cap (brought by the volunteer)
    • Gloves and aprons (provided by The Bowery Mission)

    Also note:

    • No bracelets, watches or dangly earrings
    • Long sleeves must be pushed above elbows while working with food
    • Clothing must not portray themes related to alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, sex or violence

    Men’s and Women’s Residential Programs

    • Casual business attire is appropriate
    • Clothing must not portray themes related to alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, sex or violence

    Children’s Programs

    • Casual attire is appropriate
    • Clothing should cover chest, shoulders, torso and thighs. Please avoid “sagging” pants
    • Clothing must not portray themes related to alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, sex or violence
  • Can I take pictures during my volunteer service?

    With some important restrictions, volunteers are encouraged to take and share group or individual photos of themselves and their service!

    However, photos of our residents and/or guests are not allowed without express permission from Bowery Mission staff. In addition, photography is not allowed at any of our Women's Centers without express permission from staff. Please do not share pictures or names of individual residents or community members on social media.

    Under the above guidelines, we would love to share your experiences on social! Please share your pictures with us by tagging @bowerymission on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, or by sending to [email protected].

  • What is the age requirement to volunteer at The Bowery Mission?

    Until further notice, all volunteers must be 18 years of age or older. No exceptions.

  • What is your Code of Conduct?
  • Do you accept walk-in volunteers?

    No. To protect the safety of our volunteers and our community, we cannot accept walk-ins at any time. Please visit to learn more about and to register for volunteer opportunities!

  • How do I volunteer on Thanksgiving?

    We are incredibly grateful and fortunate to have so many enthusiastic volunteers from all over the city and the world!

    At this time, many of our Thanksgiving Day serving opportunities at our Bowery Campus are not open to the general public. We invite you to sign up for these Thanksgiving opportunities on our public portal when they are available.

    • Bowery – Week of Thanksgiving Food Prep (sign-ups open 10/13)
    • Bowery – Limited Afternoon Thanksgiving Day Shifts (sign-ups open 11/13)

    We also invite you to sign up for open shifts on all other days of the year when we are in need of volunteers every day. We have daily opportunities at our Bowery and Tribeca campuses. Please visit for availability and to sign up.

  • Do you offer volunteer opportunities during other holidays?

    The Bowery Mission operates seven days a week, every single day of the year — and we have volunteer opportunities to match! However, please note that our Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day opportunities often fill up MONTHS in advance. If you would like to volunteer during a holiday, please be sure to contact us a few months before.

    On holidays like Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day, we typically need MORE volunteers than we have! Please inquire if you are interested in serving on these days — we would be grateful!

  • Can I do Community Service or Court Order Community Service at The Bowery Mission?

    No, we are unable to accommodate anyone who requires court-ordered community service.

  • Will my group be able to eat some of the food we’ve helped prepare at The Bowery Mission?

    Lunch groups who commit 5 hours to preparing and serving the meal are welcome to take a break for lunch at an arrange and scheduled time specific to your group. Volunteers are welcome to eat the food prepared at The Bowery Mission, bring their own food or find a neighborhood spot! If you would like to eat the food from The Bowery Mission, please let us know ahead of time so we can ensure there is enough to serve both guests and your group.

  • I'd like to volunteer, but cannot stay for an entire meal service. Can I leave early?

    We ask that volunteers stay for the entire service as sudden departures can disrupt the meal. However, if you know you will have to leave early, please let us know ahead of time and also inform the shift supervisor upon your arrival and before your departure.

  • What if I can’t make my shift?

    If you cannot make your shift, please log into your volunteer profile and cancel your reservation. We rely on volunteers to help us provide services to our community. When volunteers don’t show, it delays us from helping guests in urgent need. Missing more than 3 shifts without cancellation will result in a hold on your profile and removal from future shifts.


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