Why We Love Don't Walk By

January 06, 2016

This year marks Hope for New York's sixth year to participate in Don't Walk By! Don't Walk By is an annual outreach to homeless men and women in New York City during the coldest season of the year. On every Saturday this February, volunteers will canvas Manhattan to engage people living on the street with care kits and an invitation to return to a safe space for a warm meal, medical care, and the opportunity to connect with long-term recovery programs.

We love partnering with several organizations to host this outreach for a number of reasons including: 

1. Every street of Manhattan is surveyed to engage homeless men and women. Over the span of four Saturdays in the bitterly cold month of February, over 1,200 volunteers strategically survey every street of Manhattan to look for men and women living on the streets to offer them a warm meal, medical treatment, and a safe place to stay overnight. 

2. Our homeless neighbors are connected to long term care and resources. After our volunteers meet men and women on the streets, they are invited back to an anchor church to receive a warm meal and place to stay. There they will learn about various resources through our partner oganizations, Bowery MissionNew York City Rescue Mission, and NYC Relief. This year, Open Hands Legal Services will also offer their resources to homeless guests. Our hope is that the guests will be connected with these affiliates year round and receive the long term care they need to begin life transformation.

3. Volunteers are equipped to serve our homeless neighbors year round. A common question we get at Hope for New York is how to effectively engage our homeless neighbors. Not only is Don't Walk By a wonderful opportunity to educate volunteers about how to serve homeless men and women, more so, this outreach provides a unique experience for volunteers to actively practice serving their homeless neighbors. By taking a Saturday to survey the streets and engage with homeless men and women, volunteers are learning life long practices of effectively engaging with this population. This experience equips volunteers to be more aware of homeless men and women on a regular basis and how to love them well.

4. The love of Christ is exhibited to New York City through Don't Walk By. Through this mission, volunteers are actively participating in the service of Jesus Christ. Ultimately, the reason we want to engage in service to our homeless brothers and sisters is because as Christians, we believe that God has shown compassion and mercy to us by offering us an eternal home in him. Therefore, we are reflecting the love of Christ to our homeless neighbors and exhibiting that love to New York City. 

One volunteer from last year's outreach said her favorite part of Don't Walk By was: "Getting to know the needs of the communities around us, and learning to love and have compassion for others just as God loved us. Also, being able to work together with brothers and sisters from different churches to serve a single purpose."

We hope you will consider serving at Don't Walk By this year and invite others to do the same! Dates for each outreach are: Uptown, February 6; East Side, February 13; Downtown, February 20; and West Side, February 27. Find out more about each outreach and register HERE