Immigrants And Refugees

Volunteer Opportunities Still in High Demand at Catholic Charities

Volunteers distribute food at Grand St. Guild Housing // Carmen Gonzalez

The Volunteer program at Catholic Charities of New York is bigger than you think. I know when I pictured “volunteering” for Catholic Charities I figured I’d be spooning food onto plates to feed hungry people in a soup kitchen. If that is your image, prepare to have your mind blown.


Brick and mortar food pantry locations stopped normal operations back in March because of the Coronavirus. What they did instead is they became food distribution centers. How does that work?

Corporate donors and the City of New York donate approximately sixty thousand pounds of food a month. Scratch that…those are old numbers…during Covid-19, they donate one hundred thousand pounds of food every month. That food is delivered to a central receiving center. It gets off loaded from trucks. Food gets organized, refrigerated, cleaned and sorted. Then a very complex system of redistribution takes place where that hundred thousand pounds of food gets moved to various locations to be packaged together in parcels.

To do that, smaller trucks get loaded, driven, unloaded at regional locations, reorganized, refrigerated, cleaned and sorted. Bags of food get put together with balanced nutritional value (fruit, vegetables, proteins and dairy) and information on how to enroll in programs like SNAP, or reminders to participate in the Census. The community is made aware, families or individuals are contacted, then food is handed out either to visitors at a central location or delivered to people’s homes.

Who did all of that? Almost entirely volunteers.

I couldn’t tell you in one article just how vital volunteers are to the work that Catholic Charities does. It will have to suffice instead for me to tell you about some of the kinds of volunteers Catholic Charities is hoping to hear from right now. This is not a complete list; not by a long shot.

  • Lawyers, to help with programs like immigration
  • Grant Writers, to help write the grants that help support individual programs
  • Clinical therapists, who can attend to those in need of mental health services
  • Photographers* to capture the life changing moments happening every day throughout CCNY
  • Social media coordinators, to help spread the word about services to those who need them
  • Soup Kitchen worker, yes, that’s the classic position you think it is
  • Big brothers and sisters, to help foster compassion and caring with youth

And more…many more.


Visit to learn about what opportunities are available now. These roles are updated regularly. And keep an eye out for Orientations there – something every volunteer has to attend before starting work.

Join the most dedicated, well-trained, diverse volunteer force in the 10 Counties of the New York Archdiocese, and change lives.


*Volunteer Photographers needed

Catholic Charities needs photographers and videographers to visit their food pantries, human service agencies, events throughout Manhattan and the Bronx. This is a great way to build out your professional portfolio and take amazing unique photos of New Yorkers receiving help. Videographers are especially needed! Each assignment will have 2 openings for photographers/videographers to work together.

Volunteering requires a 3-month commitment, flexible availability (because events happen where and when they need to), and the ability to respond to requests within 24 hours.

See the posting for these photography and videography positions here.