Outreach Ministries

Outreach at Fifth Avenue

Our ministries embrace communities in need across the globe, and just outside our doors.

Outreach Ministries is one of the largest and most active ministries at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church. Throughout the year, hundreds of members and friends of the church are engaged in volunteering, advocacy and service on behalf of the homeless and the hungry, the isolated and the infirm, and other vulnerable populations.

As a Matthew 25 congregation of the Presbyterian Church (USA), we seek to follow Christ’s command that we welcome the stranger, provide for those who hunger and thirst, attend to the sick and needy – that we love and care for “the least of these.” (Matthew 25:40) United with all Presbyterians in this holy purpose, we seek to be a church where God’s love, justice and mercy shine forth and are contagious.

Our Legacy

Advocacy and service have been part of our identity since this congregation was founded in 1808. Many of the outreach initiatives that began decades ago, even centuries ago, still find expression in our ministries today.

The archives of this church house the records of generous contributions from this congregation—records going back more than 200 years—in support of Presbyterian mission workers in Africa, Christian congregations in Asia, and struggling communities in many other parts of the world. From the mid- to late 1800s, Fifth Avenue was the leading church in New York City in establishing mission chapels, offering Sunday School for immigrant children and “industrial school” for working men and women.

During every era in which refugees have sought to escape danger in their home countries, our congregation has stepped forward to sponsor individuals and families arriving in the United States. In the past 50 years alone, Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church has helped resettle refugees from Lebanon, Cuba, Vietnam, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Pakistan.

Fifth Avenue has been committed to homeless outreach for more than 30 years, offering shelter, food and fellowship, and access to social services for our neighbors living on the streets.

Our Current Ministries

Outreach Ministries continues Fifth Avenue’s longstanding commitment to the homeless through a variety of programs. Our befriending ministry hosts a variety of events throughout the year, connecting homeless New Yorkers with members and friends of the church. The David B. Skinner Shelter (currently closed due to Covid protocols) provides nightly shelter to 12 men experiencing homelessness.

The Ecumenical Outreach Partnership welcomes the homeless and other vulnerable populations for case management services, referrals, and direct assistance.

A Place at the Table was created in 2020 to address the crisis of hunger and food insecurity in Manhattan, which was exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Twice a week, A Place at the Table provides lunch on the sidewalk outside the church to anyone who comes in need.

Another ministry created to feed the hungry, Meals on Heels prepares and delivers home-cooked meals to homebound seniors every Saturday. On average this walking ministry feeds 55 to 60 clients every week, from the Upper East Side to the West Village.

In addition to our own programs, the church supports 14 mission partners—ministries and nonprofits whose life-saving work has substantially broadened the scope of our work. Through our mission partners, the church engages in advocacy and outreach addressing domestic violence, elder care, LGBTQ+ equality, ecology and sustainability, and other vital issues. The church also sponsors periodic mission trips to mission partners outside the U.S., so that members of our community can experience first-hand the work that these partners are doing.

Getting Involved

We invite you to read more on this site about our ministries and mission partners.

If you are looking for opportunities to serve, Meals on Heels welcomes volunteers year-round. Each spring we sponsor a day of outreach, Fifth Avenue Serves, that provides service opportunities on behalf of our local mission partners. We also host a number of events during the year—such as the Margaret Shafer Community Picnic, the Joe Vedella Christmas Dinner and the Christmas Angel Tree Project—that serve our neighbors in need. All of these events rely on volunteer support.

Look for information about upcoming volunteer opportunities in the Sunday bulletin and on our events calendar, or write to us at [email protected].