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Volunteer Guidelines and Code of Conduct

Our Goal

The Bowery Mission aims to be the most effective provider of compassionate care and life transformation for the homeless, hungry and poor in New York City. With the help of thousands of volunteers each year, we are able to work towards that goal every day.


Volunteers at The Bowery Mission

  • Volunteers are encouraged to maintain a high standard of integrity and professionalism when relating with community members* (as defined below).
  • Volunteers should not be alone with one community member. Please stay in the sight of others.
  • Volunteers are not to initiate or allow anyone to have physical contact with community members without staff advisement and the permission of the community member.
  • Volunteers are not to engage in a private transaction involving gifts, services or money with any community member. Any gifts should be directed to or channeled through the organization. Volunteers may not accept money or gifts from community members for services rendered. Volunteers are not to lend cell phones to, nor make calls for, community members.


  • Volunteers are asked not to share personal contact details such as home or email address, phone numbers or social media information with community members while volunteering or on their return home. (Volunteers in our children’s programs or in mentoring roles are an exception and should negotiate this with staff.)
  • Volunteers may not participate in any type of social media with community members. (Volunteers in our children’s programs or in mentoring roles are an exception and should negotiate this with staff.)
  • All personal information about community members is strictly confidential except when a community member shares information about matters with legal consequences such as someone being in danger or endangering others. In this case, volunteers must report the information to the staff person in charge immediately.
  • Volunteers may share their personal experience at the mission via social media but may NOT include photos or names of any community members.


  • Our programs are violence-free, alcohol-free and drug-free environments. Volunteers are not to smoke, drink, use drugs or carry any type of weapons on site.
  • Volunteers are to engage in gracious and edifying conversation and are to avoid swearing or cursing on site.
  • As The Bowery Mission is a faith-based organization, volunteers are asked not to present or promote a worldview that is in opposition to the Judeo-Christian worldview that is the very fabric of our ministry.
  • Harassment of any kind is not permitted and will be subject to disciplinary action by The Bowery Mission.
  • The Bowery Mission is not responsible for the personal property of volunteers.

Dress Code

Volunteers are requested to arrive dressed appropriately for the work that they will be performing. This dress code has been developed with the safety of volunteers in mind, following work place safety standards are designed to respect our clients. Volunteers arriving dressed inappropriately will not be allowed to take part unless suitable accommodations can be made.

  • Acceptable clothing includes long pants and shirts that cover the stomach, upper arms and chest. Please do not wear tank tops, sleeveless, tight or low-cut shirts, tight pants, shorts or “sagging” pants.
  • Clothing worn by volunteers must not portray themes related to alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, sex or violence.
  • Volunteers must wear closed-toed shoes in the kitchen and for certain designated projects.
  • Hairnets, gloves and aprons (all provided by the Bowery) must be worn by volunteers handling food.

Outside Activities

  • Volunteers are not authorized to use The Bowery Mission phones, stationery, supplies or equipment for purposes not specifically related to the volunteer opportunity.
  • Volunteers are not authorized to identify themselves with The Bowery Mission, or attempt to use their position to gain credibility for political purposes or illicit personal gain.

Legal/Photo Release

Before volunteering with The Bowery Mission, individuals are asked to sign a release form acknowledging the activities and conditions of volunteering with our organization. For more questions, please contact

*Community Members
Community members are defined as any person who benefits from any ministries of The Bowery Mission as a participant in any program including but not limited to clients, residents of The Bowery Mission facilities, children attending camps or after-school programs, or families.