Continued thanks to all the businesses and groups in NYC and nationwide continuing to offer FREE and discounted products and services to frontline health and medical workers, first responders, and other heroes who have taken care of us these last 15 months, and continue to.
New York City’s astounding recent Hometown Heroes Ticker Tape Parade reminds us how much we all owe them.
Most deals extend to all hospital staff and first responders including police, firefighters, EMTs, even helicopter pilots.
Teachers and military are eligible for some of the offers, and some offers allow any of us to purchase something to donate to a frontline worker.
Special thanks to all our frontline heroes, including teachers.
Thank you also to all our other essential heroes, including those who deliver our mail, deliver our food, protect our buildings as doormen and superintendents, and all those stock store shelves and check-out registers.
If you’ve been involved at all in helping curb the pandemic, it’s worth looking into these deals below to see if you qualify for special savings.
Even if you are not eligible for these offers, you might want to make note of the brand names and say thanks by purchasing their products and services.
NYC on the Cheap has been
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New York City
Free Products & Services for Frontline Workers & Teachers
The NYC Department of Education’s Regional Enrichment Centers, which provide FREE child care to kids of first responders, health-care workers and transit employees, have now expanded to include the children of other essential workers.
Now, grocery and pharmacy workers among many others in the medical or emergency fields can get FREE child care.
To enroll your child, fill out this survey.
NYC Volunteer opportunities
Visit nyc.gov/helpnow to find safe volunteer opportunities.
National Freebies & Deals – Shoes & Apparel
Medical professionals, first responders and members of the military all get 30% off purchases. Professional verification is required via ID.me.
Thanks to Allbirds, which supplied more than 50,000 pairs of Wool Runners to healthcare professionals in need, through direct donations and a buy-one-give-one program..
The company ended its program of discounts on final-sale shoes in July 2021.
Medical professionals and first responders get 60% off any full-priced product. You must first create an Asics account using your professional email.
Healthcare workers has reduced its previous 15% discount to 10% off high-quality bicycles, bike kits, e-bikes and more, through Dec. 31, 2021.
Thanks to Crocs, which has given away 860,000 FREE pair of their ultra-comfortable footwear to Frontline Heroes since March 2020.
Although the giveaway program has ended, you can find out about the program and Crocs products here
Health care workers, teachers and members of the military all get 20% off Dagne Dover’s collection of chic, high-quality bags, backpacks and wallets.
Health care workers can use the code SUPERHERO20 for 20% off online footwear purchases.
Ear Savers make wearing a mask all day more comfortable, as it alleviates the pressure and friction on the face and ears. Frontline workers can get them for FREE.
Individual orders are not being accepted. However, a verified healthcare worker can request hundreds for hospital or clinic use. Click here for more information.
Healthcare workers including medical researchers, technologists and technicians, flight nurses and hospital medical pilots, get an extra 15% off storewide, with no minimum purchase.
Valid through Dec. 31, 2021. Use GLOVESTRAV15 to get the discount.
First responders and medical professionals (including technicians and researchers) get a discount on most items on Nike’s website.
Nike has reduced it’s original 20% discount to just 10%, so you could probably do better on the sale rack of your favorite store.
The discount can be used up to four times per month, and Nike uses SheerID to verify employment status.
The clothing and outdoor gear company is offering discounts up to 50% off to frontline workers on nonsale items, both online and in retail stores.
You must register with SheerID to confirm your eligibility, then receive a single-use promo code for use online only.
Tortuga Backpacks, an online retailer of light-weight expandable travel backpacks, is offering a 20% discount for first responders only, including EMTs, firefighters and police.
Contact email@example.com for your coupon code. You must include verification by using your official email account or including ID or other documentation.
First responders, teachers, nurses and military all get substantial discounts, with no item exceptions. You must verify your status with ID.me.
Reebok has reduced its original discount from 40% to 30% – which is still better than the 10% discount from Nike.
Reebok also extends the same discount to students with a verified student ID.
First responders, health care professionals and educators get 10% off all purchases after verifying your employment with ID.me.
Under Armour also extends the discount to active and retired military and their families.
Check the the full details here.
Medical professionals in a broad list of categories including pharmacists and physical therapists get 15% off their orders.
A professional ID is required, and it will take one to two hours to be approved and receive your discount code.
The program giving frontline workers get a month of free premium access to care for kids, aging parents and pets ended and there is no more information about the free program on the website.
All those working on the front lines of the crisis are eligible for three free months of Sittercity Premium, which connects families with trusted child care.
Talkspace has dropped the program giving doctors, nurses and social workers free access to the therapy app’s unlimited messaging plan.
Theragun sells high-end percussive therapy devices providing intense vibrating massage meant to help with muscle recovery.
The company has donated more than 300 devices to hospitals. Eligible health care workers can get 20% off devices.
The popular water bottles and insulated coolers are 30% off to all first responders verified through ID.me.
Yeti extends the discount to military, also with a verified ID.
National Freebies and Deals – Food & Drink
The meal kit delivery service continues to offer discounts for medical personnel, first responders, military and teachers.
The discount WAS 50% off your first order, a maximum discount is $60 per sale, and subsequent orders will be discounted by 10%, but we don’t know what it is now.
The discount will pop up after verification is completed using ID.me.
National Freebies and Deals – Travel & Transportation
Airbnb discontinued its discount program for Essential Workers, and we removed them from this list in July 2021.
Information about a discount has been removed from the website, so first responders, doctors, nurses and other hospital workers no longer get a discount of up to 10 cents a gallon at BP and Amoco stations.
Essential health care workers, first responders, transit employees and more can receive discounted room rates at participating hotels through the program Choice Cares.
‘Rides for Responders’ continues to provide two free one-way tickets to any doctor, nurse, paramedic, EMT, medical technician, firefighter, member of law enforcement or mortician volunteering and needing to travel to a volunteer site by utilizing its existing Road Rewards program.
Those looking to take advantage of the tickets can visit the program’s website and follow the simple instructions.
After signing up for Road Rewards and providing the necessary information, Greyhound will deposit the tickets into the member’s account in approximately 72 hours.
The 20% discount and automatic upgrade for emergency service workers including police, firefighters, doctors, and nurses has been discontinued.
However, the 20% off and an upgrade to the best available room at check-in for active-duty and retired military remains in effect. Check the Military 1st Program for specific information..
This offer is available at all Radisson Collection, Radisson Blu, Radisson, Radisson RED, Park Plaza, Park Inn by Radisson and Country Inn & Suites by Radisson hotels in the United States, Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean.
All essential workers — including health care workers, delivery drivers, grocery clerks and more — get a free instant membership upgrade to Gold status.
The offer is extended to truck drivers, delivery drivers, warehouse workers, construction workers, sanitation workers, grocery associates, healthcare workers, and more. Describe your job as an essential worker to receive your upgrade.
More than twenty of New York City’s top restaurant groups have banded together to form a new hospitality organization called Relief Opportunities for All Restaurants (ROAR)
The goal, according to Eater NY, is to organize relief efforts for laid off personnel and closed restaurants.
Founding members include chef Daniel Boulud’s the Dinex Group, Momofuku, Starr Restaurants, and Major Food Group, fast casual chain Dig, restaurateur Gabriel Stulman’s Happy Cooking Hospitality, Eataly, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s restaurant group, chef JJ Johnson’s casual enterprise FieldTrip, and more.
These groups also are helping support NYC restaurants, including our favorite local neighborhood joints.
You are invited to donate to support them.
Thanks to Eater NY for this list. It’s a menu of choices.
Like government-issued war bonds, the Dining Bond Initiative seeks to bring in immediate cash in exchange for future restaurant purchases.
Diners can buy gift certificates sold at a 25 percent discount ($100 worth of food for a $75 bond) to be redeemed in the restaurant within the next month or two, depending on how individual restaurants decide to honor the bonds. The program is open to all restaurants.
The JBF Food and Beverage Relief Fund is gathering donations from everyday diners as well as corporate donors to distribute micro-grants to independent businesses.
Houston chef Chris Shepherd’s Southern Smoke Foundation is accepting donations from well-wishers and applications for funds from restaurants and restaurant employees.
Give Local and Local for Later are aggregating lists of restaurants promoting gift card sales while their doors are closed. Many restaurants are banking on gift cards to help defer costs until the pandemic subsides.
Chef José Andrés and WCK have already been pitching in on coronavirus relief, feeding quarantined cruise ship passengers, but the organization’s chefs need financial help to continue preparing meals for those in need during the crisis.
Help for Restaurant and Delivery Workers
The RWCF, which works across a number of labor issues in the restaurant industry, launched the RWCF COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund.
The fund collects donations to provide relief to individual workers affected by the coronavirus and to create zero-interest loans to businesses.
The OFW campaign, a nonprofit advocating against sub-minimum-wage laws for tipped restaurant workers, launched the OFW Emergency Fund.
The target $213,000 (based on the federal tipped minimum wage of $2.13/hour) will provide immediate cash assistance to restaurant employees, delivery workers, and other tipped workers in the food industry.
Unite Here, a labor union representing groups in the U.S. and Canada, is collecting funds to help its 300,000 members with things like rent, groceries, health insurance, and lost wages.
The union represents other industries beyond food service, including hotels, airports, and casinos, but you can select a specific local group if you prefer to target your money to particular restaurant industry workers.
The nonprofit Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United has set a target of $500,000 for its emergency relief fund, which seeks to help documented and undocumented restaurant workers who lose their jobs during the pandemic.
Spill The Dish offers a database of financial aid that combines donor funds with resources from government agencies and non-profits.
It allows users to search by state, and breaks down results for restaurant workers, business owners, and individual donors. Users can also add new donation programs to the database.
Help for Bars and Bartenders
The United States Bartenders Guild is helping bartenders affected by the virus through its emergency assistance program.
Jameson Irish Whiskey has pledged $500,000 toward the effort.
SipScience, an analytics company focused on the hospitality industry, has also launched a GoFundMe to raise $100,000 for the USBG National Charity Foundation.
This list was published originally in March 2020 and updated periodically, most recently July 2021.
Evelyn Kanter also is the author of several NYC and Hudson Valley guidebooks, including my latest, 100 Things to Do in NYC Before You Die.
Purchase autographed copies by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org