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 stressful days. And also for teachers, who are returning to classrooms in difficult times.
Special thanks to all our frontline heroes, including teachers.
Through the end of September, franchisees will cook and serve KFC’s world-famous fried chicken in a way that best serves the school systems and educators of that community, whether through catering in-service training meetings for teachers and administrators, delivering buckets of chicken to teachers preparing their virtual curriculum, or honoring the staff working tirelessly to keep campuses clean and safe.
The Back-to-School Buckets initiative is a follow up to KFC’s donation of one million pieces of chicken in March, which fed thousands of frontline workers including doctors, nurses, first responders and essential workers across the country, during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thanks also to Crocs, which has given away 860,000 FREE pair of their ultra-comfortable footwear to Frontline Heroes since March.
Although the giveaway program has ended, you can find out about the program and Crocs products here
Free Products & Services for Frontline Workers
New York City
The NYC Department of Education’s Regional Enrichment Centers, which opened last month to provide 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.
“Our frontline workers are sacrificing so much to help and protect their fellow New Yorkers,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I want to thank Lyft for stepping up and helping us fight this pandemic by providing the employees on the front line with a safe, free ride to work.”
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”.
NYC: Supporting EMTs
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
Shoes and Apparel
Medical professionals, first responders and members of the military all get 40% 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.
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.
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.
Through December 31, the clothing and outdoor gear company is offering 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 50% off their purchases, with no item exceptions. You must verify your status with ID.me.
First responders, health care professionals and educators get 40% off all purchases after verifying your employment with ID.me. A broad range of workers is included, so check out the full details here.
Medical workers 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.
Health and Wellness Products & Services
Frontline workers get a month of free premium access to the company’s services, which include care for kids, aging parents and pets.
The mindfulness and meditation app is offering free subscriptions for all health care professionals working in public health settings.
The subscription is good for all of 2020, and you’ll need your National Provider Identifier or another form of professional verification to sign up.
Water bottle company Owala is helping first responders, government workers and medical professionals stay hydrated with 50% off their orders.
Verification is done via VerifyPass, and retirees in the aforementioned fields are eligible as well.
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.
The detergent brard has mobilized its Tide Loads of Hope program to provide free laundry and dry cleaning to the immediate Family of Front Line Responders Medical (Paramedics, Doctors, Nurses, Hospital and Medical Staff, Medical Researchers), Police Officers, Fire Fighters.
The free cleaning services are in 36 cities, but NOT in New York City or the Tri-State area.
If you have a loved one or friend in such cities as Austin or St. Louis, Little Rock or Minneapolis, tell them about this program. Here’s the link.
- Shame on you, Tide, for not bothering to include such hard-hit NYC areas as Bronx or Queens, while you include such high-rent areas as Palm Beach County and Sarasota.
- We’ll be sure to remember that the next time we go shopping.
Food and Drink
Medical workers, first responders, hospital staff and active duty military can get a free coffee, any size, hot or iced.
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.me.
The chain is offering a FREE tall brewed coffee (hot or iced) to any customer who identifies as a front-line responder to the COVID-19 outbreak until further notice, no No purchase necessary.
Front-line responders include police officers, firefighters and paramedics, as well as doctors, nurses and hospital workers. The offer is available at participating locations, with a proper ID or uniform.
Travel and Transportation Services
The company is waiving all fees for the first 100,000 stays in its Frontline stays program. The program was launched on April 3, and there 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 all get a one-time, 50-cent-per-gallon discount 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.
Through December 31, 2020, 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 Whiskeyhas 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 email@example.com