In 1983, New York Mayor Ed Koch gave a speech here at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue asking faith-based communities to get involved in the issue of homelessness.
A few months later, we rose to the mayor’s challenge and became the first synagogue in New York City to open an on-site homeless shelter. Now, 35 years later, our Next Step Men’s Shelter works in conjunction with the Grand Central Neighborhood Social Services Corporation’s Mainchance Drop-in Center and the Department of Homeless Services to provide shelter for 10 men, five nights a week, nine months of the year.
Our shelter is normally open October–June, Mondays through Fridays (with some holiday exceptions) — but this year’s schedule is TBA due to coronavirus restrictions. Volunteer opportunities include: setting up the shelter room and cooking dinner for the men; sleeping overnight at the shelter; donating food and supplies; donating Friday night dinner; and visiting the shelter to show your support. We also serve a Thanksgiving meal for the men and provide a Super Bowl viewing party for them. Volunteers are invited to help out and join in these two events as well.
For more information, please email the shelter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Help set up the shelter room and cook dinner for the men; sleep overnight at the shelter; donate food and supplies; donate Friday night dinner; or visit the shelter to show your support.
To see available dates for both set up and sleepover, see the sign-up links below. If you are new to volunteering, email email@example.com and we will send you instructions.
Volunteers are needed from 6 to 8 p.m. to set up and provide a meal to our guests (either cooking at Stephen Wise, bringing a meal, or ordering in). To see available dates for set up, and to sign up, click here.
Sleepover volunteers are needed to staff the shelter overnight (sleeping in the locked women’s lounge) during the times when our Columbia University volunteers are on holiday break. Sleepover volunteers arrive by 8 p.m. and leave by 6:15 a.m. the following morning. Dates that we will need sleepover volunteers will be announced once our operating schedule has been determined.
The shelter is in the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue’s Berns Lounge.