NYCP Note to Volunteers


Hello Again Volunteers,

As you know, we are asking everyone who comes to NYCP to adhere to CDC guidelines. Friday they issued some new guidelines concerning those 60+ (see below)
“The CDC guidance comes as two top infectious disease experts with ties to the federal government have advised people over 60 and those with underlying health problems to strongly consider avoiding activities that involve large crowds.

Dr. William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University professor and longtime adviser to the CDC, said these two groups should consider avoiding activities such as traveling by airplane, going to movie theaters, attending family events, shopping at crowded malls, and going to religious services.

People in these two groups “should strongly consider not doing these activities at this juncture,” Schaffner said.

“This ought to be top of mind for people over 60, and those with underlying health problems, such as heart or lung disease, diabetes, or compromised immune systems,” Schaffner added. “The single most important thing you can do to avoid the virus is reduce your face to face contact with people.””
I have attached a screening that I would like all volunteers to take. If your answer is yes to any of the questions please e-mail me or call me to cancel your shift and contact your doctor for further medical guidance.

We are currently exercising caution by minimizing the number of people in our buildings and the amount of contact that any people have with each other. This includes meals being take-away only and Choice Pantry being choice for guests who order the day before and emergency bags for all other guests. We are actively working on plans should the situation escalate.

I would like to reiterate the guidelines that I sent out last week:
Everyone can do their part to help us respond to this emerging public health threat. It is important that we separate facts from fear, remain calm and take preventive steps at this point. It is also important that we recognize that our staff and those we serve represent people from many different backgrounds, religions and languages. Events like this can cause stress and anxiety which can lead to biases against those of specific ethnicities or countries of origin. Please remember that we are all fellow community members, and no one who works here, volunteers here or comes here for services should be made to feel stigmatized. Please help us keep our staff and communities focused on facts, not misinformation. For up to date factual information, please visit the New York City Health Department’s website:

We have done a deep cleaning of our facilities and have hand sanitizer readily available. We will have gloves for all volunteers. The CDC has specifically asked that people not use masks. If you feel that a mask is necessary, please stay home where you will be more comfortable.

If you have recently traveled to one of the affected countries I’m asking you to self-isolate and not volunteer until the incubation period has elapsed. If at any time you don’t feel comfortable coming here, please stay home. We’ll understand and welcome you back when this has passed.

The CDC has published preventative measures that we all should practice. We want to encourage you to put in place the same precautions that we would during any cold and flu season:
• You should still get your flu vaccine if you haven’t yet — it’s not too late.
• Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, not your hands. When you use a tissue, do not reuse, throw away in a waste bin.
• Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, which are available in all the offices.
• Resist touching your face and eyes until you have cleaned your hand. If you feel sick, please stay home.

We are not cancelling any volunteer shifts right now but completely respect your decision not to volunteer if you aren’t comfortable coming here. Please just let us know not to expect you. Thank you again for all of the service you provide to NYCP. As things change we will be prepared to update you.

Thank you for your cooperation and be well,

Debby Lowenstein
Volunteer Manager
New York Common Pantry
8 East 109th Street | NY, NY 10029
T: 917.720.9710