New York City has received thousands of asylum seekers in recent months. Many made the trek from Venezuela to the southern border of the U.S., only to be put on cross-country buses that arrive daily at the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Others are migrating from other parts of South America, Central America, and Africa.
City officials have been scrambling to shelter these new arrivals and provide them with legal support and social services. But much of the aid comes directly from grassroots organizations and community groups that are being stretched thin. Even if the flow of migrants into New York City lets up soon, organizers said they anticipate having to provide extra aid for months to come — especially since it can take a long time to get a work permit after applying for asylum.
Gothamist has compiled some suggestions of places where people can donate money and supplies or see if they need volunteers. This list isn’t exhaustive but includes official donation sites designated by the city as well as a few recommendations from workers on the ground.
NYC’s Official Emergency Relief Fund
United Way of NYC - Donate here. United Way is managing New York City’s designated emergency relief fund. It is administering donations to community groups providing direct aid to arriving migrants. So far, United Way is funding Artists Athletes Activists, Team TLC NYC, the Gambian Youth Organization and El Puente. United Way said it will fund other organizations, including soup kitchens and pantries, as more money comes in and needs evolve.
These groups all accept direct monetary donations as well (linked to above). The Gambian Youth Organization has set up an Amazon wish list to purchase items for asylum seekers.
Catholic Charities of New York - Donate here or buy things off their Amazon wish list. Catholic Charities is contracting with New York City officials to operate its navigation center for migrants and has also been providing information, food, and supplies to those arriving at its offices and parishes.
New York Immigration Coalition - Donate here. Statewide policy and advocacy group that represents more than 200 immigrant and refugee rights groups.
Where to drop off supplies
Many groups specify they only want new or like-new items. It may be wise to check on what they need in advance, but several say warm-weather clothes are needed, along with unopened hygiene products, diapers, shoes and underwear.
Here are the official drop-off sites designated by New York City:
Mission Church John 3:16
518 West 168th St., New York, NY
Tuesday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Iglesias Jovenes Cristianos
8700 18th Ave., Brooklyn, NY
Sunday 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
1894 Flatbush Ave., Brooklyn, NY
Tuesday and Wednesday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
New Life Church
2757 Morris Ave., Bronx, NY
Phone: 718-562-2230 (call before drop-off)
Salvation Army Jamaica Community Center
90-23 161st St., Jamaica, Queens
Monday - Thursday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Central Family Life Center
59 Wright St., Staten Island, NY
More places to donate supplies:
Baruch Houses Tenants’ Association
110 Columbia St., New York, NY
Sunday - Friday 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Team TLC NYC
Packages can be shipped by mail to:
Team TLC NYC
Manhattan Mini Storage Unit 2-5-2 South,
645 W 44th St., 10036
South Bronx Mutual Aid - This mutual aid network is helping to provide clothing, supplies, and services to arriving migrants. They have drop-off locations for clothing and other supplies throughout the city, by appointment only. Those who wish to make an appointment can message the group on Instagram or text them at 646-598-3526. The group also has a sign-up sheet for volunteers.
Individual Community Groups
A lot of individual community groups are working to assist arriving migrants. Many already provided services to immigrants but are now being stretched thin and may need donations or volunteers. Some of these groups are listed on the city’s website for asylum seekers, with links to their individual webpages.
Here are just a few suggestions:
Make the Road NY - Donate here. Make the Road is currently focused on providing asylum seekers with prepaid cell phones, which they say are crucial for people to find family members and stay in touch with service providers. The organization also engages in a wide range of other immigrant services and advocacy.
La Colmena - Donate here. La Colmena is an immigrant worker center on Staten Island that has also been providing support to asylum seekers.
Mixteca - Donate here. Mixteca provides services to the Latin American community in Brooklyn, including English classes, mental health care, and more.
New Immigrant Community Empowerment - Donate here. An immigrant worker center in Queens that connects people with jobs, provides skills training, and refers people to other services such as medical care.