NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - New York Cares is offering more than 3,000 volunteer opportunities across all the five boroughs during National Volunteer Week, which is a nationwide recognition of people who give their time to help those in need.
"National Volunteer Week is a great time to honor the volunteers who do the nitty-gritty work of providing services to people in the community," Betty Bailyn, a New York Cares team leader, told FOX 5 NY.
Volunteers help feed hundreds of New Yorkers at the pantry service at the church of the Village in Manhattan.
"We have about 110 New York Cares volunteers along with the other groups that come to volunteer," Hope for Our Neighbors in Need executive director Teresa Concepcion said. "So it's a big operation. But I couldn't do it without them."
Volunteers were also distributing fresh produce at City Harvest's mobile market in Queens.
"Our mobile markets with the help of more than 6,000 volunteers will distribute 2.9 million pounds of food this year," City Harvest's Molly Alpern said. "This is an effort that couldn't be accomplished without all of the generous people who give their time to City Harvest."
The theme of New York Cares National Volunteer Week is "Let's Take This Offline." The approach is meant to encourage New Yorkers to get directly involved in their communities.
"I volunteer because it's very rewarding," Bailyn said. "The volunteers who come are so dedicated and hard working. It's great to be part of a team that gets things done."
Cecelia Demicco, an attorney, said she understands the impact of volunteers.
"I grew up very, very poor and all of these organizations weren't around when I grew up," she said. "And I really appreciate what people did for me as I was growing up and I want to give back to the community."
Every year, 52,000 New Yorkers volunteer to tackle the city's toughest issues.
"Being able to give that support to them and provide help and assistance to get them good healthy food for themselves and their families is a wonderful feeling that everyone can benefit from," Alpern said.
Plenty of volunteer opportunities are available. You can sign up at NewYorkCares.org.