Continued thanks to all the businesses and groups in NYC and nationwide offering FREE and discounted products and services to frontline health and medical workers, first responders and others keeping us alive and safe in these difficult days.
Most deals extend to all hospital staff and first responders including police, firefighters and EMTs.
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.
This list has been updated.
Thank you to all our other essential heroes in NYC and the Tri-State area, 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.
Let’s all hope this Covid-19 nightmare is over soon.
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 updating and republishing
this list periodically since March 2020.
Free Products & Services for Frontline Workers & Teachers
New York City
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.
Citi Bike is offering one month of FREE bike loans to first-responders including NYPD, FDNY and EMS and other healthcare providers, plus transit workers, under a new program called the Critical Workforce Membership Program.
Eligible critical service employees must apply for the free 30-day Citi Bike membership by signing up through their employers, according to Lyft, which now owns Citi Bike.
Healthcare employers should email HeroBikes@Lyft.com to obtain enrollment information to distribute to staff.
The program includes unlimited 45 minute trips on classic bikes or ebikes.
Eligible NYC employees who already have a paid Citi Bike membership can also access the free month.
In a press release, Lyft says it will evaluate the program after 30 days “with City partners to determine ridership needs and the best ways to support the program further”.
The nonprofit EMS FDNY Help Fund provides financial support to the city’s emergency medical technicians and paramedics.
These emergency services workers have been on the front lines alongside doctors and nurses.
EMTs have been responding to constant calls over the past several weeks, putting in shifts up up to 16 or 17 hours at a time for pay that hovers just above the city’s minimum wage.
Donations to the EMS FDNY Help Fund, which is endorsed by fire officials and multiple unions, can be made here.
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.
Health care workers can purchase final-sale pairs from a special collection at a discounted price.
Anyone can bundle their own shoe purchase with a pair to be sent to a health care professional. Prices range from $146 to $186 for either women’s or men’s bundles.
If you don’t want any shoes for yourself, you can donate a pair directly to a health care worker for $60.
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 get 15% 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.
First responders and medical professionals (including technicians and researchers) get 20% off most items on Nike’s website.
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.
First responders, teachers, nurses and military all get 40% off their purchases, with no item exceptions. You must verify your status with ID.me.
Reebok also extends the 50% off offer 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.
Frontline workers get a month of free premium access to the company’s services, which include care for kids, aging parents and pets.
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.
Doctors, nurses and social workers get 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, and all health care workers can request $250 off a device of their own while supplies last.
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 is offering 50% off your first purchase for medical personnel, first responders, military and teachers. The maximum discount is $60 per sale, and subsequent orders will be discounted by 10%. Verification is completed using ID.m
National Freebies and Deals – Travel & Transportation
The company is waiving all fees for the first 100,000 stays in its Frontline stays program. The program was launched in April 2020, butthere is nothing on the Airbnb website to indicate whether the 100,00 threshhold has been reached.
Individuals must first submit professional information to Airbnb to confirm their eligibility, after which they can book directly with hosts.
First responders, doctors, nurses and other hospital workers get a discount of up to 10 cents a gallon at BP and Amoco stations. Be sure to verify your eligibility with ID.me before fueling up.
Essential health care workers, first responders, transit employees and more can receive discounted room rates at participating hotels.
‘Rides for Responders’ provides 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.
Emergency workers including police, firefighters, doctors, and nurses get 20% off their stay and an upgrade to the best available room at check-in.
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.
There is a similar discount and upgrade program for active-duty and retired military. Check the Military 1st Program for specific information.
All essential workers — including health care workers, delivery drivers, grocery clerks and more — get a free instant membership upgrade to Gold status.
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.
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