Seeing homeless people struggle during New York's cold winter months was difficult for Louise Ulman.

"It was freezing. And I just put myself in their places. And I just thought, why, 'by the good gace of God, go I.' I mean, that could be me," Ulman said.

So she decided to do something about it.

Ulman's mission to help the homeless started at her Upper West Side church with just two other people.

Now, five years later, that mission has grown into a worldwide effort by thousands of volunteers with the non-profit organization "The Joy J Initiative".

"These are our less fortunate brothers and sisters who are living on the streets that just need a little bit of kindness, a little bit of love," Ulman said.

On Saturday mornings at churches across the city, hundreds of volunteers pack bags for the homeless.

They're filled with sandwiches, snacks, clean socks, and toiletries.

They then walk block by block looking for those in need.

Volunteers say what's just as important as handing over the bags, is making connections with those they serve.

"When you can make a concerted effort to really spend some time with them, that has a lasting impact on you and certainly on them as well," said Brian Kelly, a Joy J Initiative volunteer.  

From New York to places like London, Ecuador, and Colombia outreach is happening across the globe.

Ulman can't believe this small idea has made such a big global impact. She says one of the greatest things to come from all of this is spreading kindness with thousands.

"Even if you just pass someone on the street, don't ignore them. Just say hello to them. It doesn't cost anything to be kind," Ulman said.

So for lending a helping hand to the homeless, Louise Ulman is our New Yorker of the Week.