Serving on the Relief Bus is a life-changing experience both for you and the friends you will make on the street! You will never be the same!
WHAT DOES OUTREACH LOOK LIKE?
We have two different types of outreaches: The Relief Bus Outreach and Don’t Walk By.
The Relief Bus:
If you meet us at The Relief Bus Base in Elizabeth, NJ, you will start the morning with a quick prayer with our team before breaking into groups to make the soup, mix drinks, organize socks and hygiene kits and load the Relief Bus with everything we need to serve that day. Once the bread comes from the bakery and we are loaded, we gather for a parting prayer. Also, be ready to shout our battle cry before heading out! On the way in we spend some time in worship and prayer for the people we will encounter. On the street you will serve in multiple positions (kitchen, giving out prayer & socks, resource table, hanging on the street, etc.), all with the same aim of getting to know folks and connecting them to God and the resources they may need. On the ride home you may opt for a little shut-eye before arriving back at the base to clean everything up and debrief from the day.
Please note, when serving at one of our evening outreaches you may not participate in as much of the outreach preparation.
Don’t Walk By:
You will start the evening with a quick prayer with our team and then one of our outreach leaders will conduct a briefing to prepare you for the evening. Following this, we divide into groups of 2-3 people, which will be led by an experienced team guide. The teams then hit the streets where they have the opportunity to show love to our friends living on the streets of NYC. We equip teams with messenger bags filled with socks, hygiene kits and information about The Relief Bus outreaches as well as other community resources. We suggest volunteers bring ~$15 with them to invite a new friend from the street out to dinner. There is no obligation to do this, but it is something some of our volunteers enjoy doing. At the end of the night, all the teams meet back at a designated location to return the bags and share about their experience.
WHERE DO YOU SERVE?
Check out all our Relief Bus outreach locations HERE.
HOW DO I SCHEDULE A TIME TO SERVE?
WHAT IF I'VE NEVER DONE OUTREACH BEFORE?
That's not a problem! In preparation to serve with us please review the Relief Bus Outreach Brief Sheet or the Don’t Walk By Brief Sheet. Our experienced staff will also brief you and/or your team on all the dos and don'ts before outreach begins.
WHERE DO I PARK?
At The Relief Bus base in Elizabeth, NJ there is street parking available. If you meet us at the outreach location there may or may not be space to park near the bus. In all cases, please be sure you are obeying all posted signs concerning parking rules. We are not responsible for any parking tickets you may receive or any damage to your vehicle.
WHERE CAN I LEAVE MY PERSONAL BELONGINGS?
If you are serving at one of The Relief Bus outreaches, we can store personal items in our vehicle, however it will not be locked. At the Don’t Walk By outreach you will need to carry your personal items with you. If you are meeting us at The Relief Bus Base in Elizabeth, NJ you may also store items there. Where possible, please minimize the amount of personal belongings you carry with you. We are not responsible for volunteers' belongings.
DO YOU EVER CANCEL THE OUTREACH DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER?
Unless the bridges and tunnels are closed and there is no way for us to get to the outreach, we never cancel. If this unlikely event happens we will notify you as soon as possible. If you are worried about your safety and need to cancel, please contact us as soon as possible.
SHOULD I BRING FOOD WITH ME TO THE OUTREACH?
You are welcome to enjoy the soup, bread and drinks at a Relief Bus outreach. In fact, it is a great way to make a connection with one of our guests by sharing a meal with them. You may bring snacks for the bus ride, but we ask that you not bring in outside food during an outreach unless you have a medical reason to do so. If that is the case, please notify us ahead of time. If you are serving at a Don’t Walk By outreach we suggest you bring $10 - $15 with you to invite a new friend to dinner.
HOW SHOULD I DRESS?
Our outreaches take place outside on the street so please be sure to wear weather appropriate clothing and closed toed shoes. Please do not wear clothing with vulgar or explicit messages, clothes advertising drugs/alcohol or wear expensive clothes or jewelry. If you would like to avoid wearing a hair net in the kitchen, we recommend that you bring a hat.
In the summer especially please wear modest clothing that covers you, i.e. longer shorts, t-shirts rather than thin tank tops.
In the winter it gets cold & windy on the street and you will want a warm coat, layers, hats, gloves, boots, etc.
CAN I BRING DONATIONS?
WHAT ABOUT KIDS UNDER 18?
While street ministry is extremely rewarding, there are many challenges that require a level of maturity and responsibility. Our friends on the street are struggling with various issues (including addiction, mental illness, etc.) that may lead them to be agitated, unfriendly, use vulgar language, etc. It is at the discretion of the child’s parent/guardian if they feel their child should serve.
Children must be at least 12 years old to volunteer and must complete a Volunteer Application for Minors (including a parent or guardian's signature) each time they volunteer with New York City Relief. In addition, any children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a minimum of 1 adult per child. Children ages 16-17 must be accompanied by a minimum of 1 adult per 4 teens.
Youth Groups: Due to the demands of an outreach we only accept groups of HS age or older students. For a HS group (8-10 people) we require a minimum of 2 adult leaders to attend.