A Love Letter from NBkMA

February updates + ways to get involved

Hey neighbors,

We hope you’ve been feeling the love of your community this Valentine’s season, despite the distance. In the spirit of sharing and spreading love--and inspired by #QNSlovesTX--North Brooklyn Mutual Aid is making efforts to stand in solidarity with Texas while they continue to cope with an unprecedented winter storm. We will be sending funds (collected via our ""Solidarity with Texas"" Open Collective donation option), resources, and people to: Feed the People Dallas Mutual Aid, Austin Mutual Aid, Funky Town Fridge in Fort Worth, Black Futures Collective in San Antonio, Houseless Organizing Coalition in Houston, and North Texas Rural Resilience. Drop us a line at greenpointhelpers@gmail.com if you're interested in remote volunteer support/coordination, with the subject line ""Solidarity with Texas”.

We are also excited to announce the “coming soon” of our first ever merch fundraiser: Support our initiatives and wear your love for your community on your sleeve! Shirts, sweatshirts, and tote bags were designed and screen printed locally, and will be sold at cost (with donations encouraged!) to keep things accessible. Keep your eyes peeled for pre-order information in the coming days 👀


NBKMA TO DATE:

  • 4 pop-up Free Stores

  • 10 active community initiatives

  • Over 600 pieces of winter clothing collected for neighbors in need

  • 600 toys distributed to neighbors this past holiday season

  • Over 1,200 active volunteers (!)

  • 3,000 hygiene kits built and distributed since July 

  • Over 1,300 neighbors on our community slack

  • Over 13,000 masks delivered in partnership with Face Mask Aid

  • Over $65,000 in donations via Open Collective

  • Over 80,000 lbs of food scraps collected for community compost


Open Collective Fundraising

Our Open Collective donation page makes it easy to support all of NBKMA's different initiatives with a tax-deductible contribution. From providing hygiene kits for our unhoused neighbors, to continuing community compost, to delivering groceries and supplies for neighbors in need; community donations make this work possible! Thank you to everyone who has contributed, along with the local businesses who've supported our work 💞

How to help: Though every donation has impact, sustaining monthly donations are especially helpful for long-term planning. A special thank you to all our sustaining donors, and if you're able, we'd love your support as a sustaining member today!

Volunteer Dispatch

It's almost the one-year anniversary of North Brooklyn Mutual Aid––and since the very beginning, we've supported local partners' long-running food pantries and soup kitchens with volunteers. Even with almost 1,200 community volunteers (!!!) we need *your* help to keep these day-to-day operations going, and are planning on increasing onboarding efforts for folks interested in getting more involved. Monday through Friday help is needed on a weekly basis at:

How to help: Click on the links above to sign up for a weekly shift with one of our partners, if you’re able. Otherwise, fill out our general volunteer form to tell us about your interests and skills. Got wheels? Sign-up for our rapid response vehicle team. Always feel free to reach out at greenpointhelpers@gmail.com.

NBK Vax

is assisting neighbors in Greenpoint and Williamsburg with accessing the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine rollout has left many of neighbors--seniors specifically--at a disadvantage; the appointment process requires one to have a computer and be internet savvy, and many are unable or unwilling to travel far and wife to receive each dose. NBK Vax will help close this gap by helping neighbors secure appointments online, coordinating transportation to and from, and getting the word out on eligibility and process for vaccination. We've had a tremendous amount of volunteers sign-up over the past two weeks and are excited to have onboarded our first batch of volunteers who have been paired to call seniors. We will be organizing local outreach efforts, and mobilizing volunteers to spread the word about this initiative within the local community.

How to help: Please share our number with anyone who needs help making a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, especially seniors who do not know this help exists: (917)-426-4988

North Brooklyn Device Drive

This past month, NBK Device Drive has continued to work in partnership with Community Education Council District 14 (CEC14) to equip students at P.S. 18 and P.S. 297 with devices for e-learning! While the most requested devices remain laptops, tablets/iPads, and computers, we’ve also learned of the need for keyboards, mice, routers, and hotspots to enable internet connectivity. We’ve kicked off a collaboration with NBK Essentials to collect working smartphones for our unhoused neighbors! 📱

How to help: Do you know of a student who needs a device? Request one from us by emailing nbkdevicedrive@gmail.com, calling (646) 598-1698, or meeting us at our device drop-off site in McGolrick Park, on Sundays from 10AM - 1PM. Help us equip students by donating a working device in good condition, or making a contribution via Open Collective. Let us know if you have a smartphone to donate at bit.ly/nbkphones

NBK Essentials

has continued to distribute food and other essential resources to our unhoused neighbors under the BQE and elsewhere, building relationships, fostering solidarity, and creating alternatives to the systems that are neglecting and harming us. This month we collaborated with Brick Theater to collect Winter clothing, sleeping bags and tents to keep our houseless friends warm. We also asked our neighbors to send us MetroCards to distribute, and highlighted how policing and criminalization force many houseless and marginalized people to choose between risking arrest or getting to work. We continue to operate our respite space, offering breakfast, dinner, and a warm and safe place to sleep for our houseless neighbors.

How to help: We're looking to expand our direct outreach teams! If you're interested in helping out with this or other activities, please fill out our volunteer intake form. Help us purchase essential items and provide services for our houseless neighbors by donating via  Open Collective. Contact theresa@bricktheater.com to inquire about donations of insulated winter coats, tents, and sleeping bags.

North Brooklyn Compost Project

collects food scraps from North Brooklyn residents in partnership with @bkscrapshuttle. Did you know that the city has stopped collecting compost? Food scraps (no meat, no dairy!) can be dropped off every Sunday from 10AM-1PM in McGolrick Park, 11:30AM-1PM in Transmitter Park, and 12PM-3PM in Cooper Park. The farmers market returns to McGolrick on March 7th and we are planning to give away finished compost to everyone dropping off! Check our Instagram and newsletter for updates.

How to help: We are always welcoming new volunteers, you can sign up via our newsletter sign-up form. Send us a message on Instagram or Slack with any questions!

North Brooklyn Fridges

In a country that throws away upwards of 30% of its food supply, North Brooklyn Fridges help get food into the hands of more people to fight food insecurity. We will be hosting our first community open Zoom call on Tuesday, March 9 at 7:30pm. Join the event here or email greenpointfridge@gmail.com for more information. Shout out to Lee, a community member with amazing fridge repair skills and knowledge who will now do regular maintenance on the fridges (and saved the Greenpoint fridge!) 🛠

How to help: We are looking to partner with more restaurants and grocers to rescue their excess, and volunteers to help with that effort! Find more info on Instagram or reach out at greenpointfridge@gmail.com. Donate food directly to our Greenpoint (17 Nassau Ave) and Cooper Park (76 Kingsland Ave) fridges, or donate via Open Collective. Please label prepared food.

North Brooklyn Housing Defense

offers support and solidarity in an effort to build power among residential tenants at risk of eviction. Members of this initiative respond to requests for housing assistance by establishing meaningful relationships with tenants in need in our community, both during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. 

We’ve continued to host “Know Your Rights” trainings at Lindsay Park Houses regarding taking over the lease and shares from a departed family member cooperator; provided legal support regarding squatters’ rights for occupants of warehoused apartments; and helped tenants sign and submit the Hardship Declaration authorized by the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2020 to their landlords. Hardship Declarations are now available in multiple languages--reach out to learn more. Special shout out to Barb at Lindsay Park for building power among Mitchell-Lama cooperators in North Brooklyn.

How to help: To get involved or seek support, contact nbkhousingdefense@gmail.com or call 732-963-1309. We’re currently looking for folks to flyer buildings to help build tenant associations.

Essentially Open North Brooklyn

provides updates on local businesses. We’re currently conducting a big push to update our local community businesses’ listings with current information for 2021 in light of ongoing changes to hours and seating. Check out recent updates to the map (including North Brooklyn Fridges and Free Stores!) or submit updates online for your local business.

How to help: Help us keep the map reliable and community-made! We're looking for volunteers to reach out to local businesses in their area to update their hours & services, and connect with them about our great community initiatives! Sign up or get in touch via Instagram DM @nbkmap or email nbklocal@gmail.com

Hygiene Kits

took a little break in February, and will be starting our next at-home build within the next few weeks. In the meantime, our outreach volunteers have been hard at work continuing to distribute kits and other resources and supplies, directly to unhoused neighbors.

How to help: We're currently in need of more direct distribution volunteers to help with outreach in the community, and will be holding another outreach orientation in the month ahead. Make sure you’re signed up for our volunteer list, and stay tuned for more info! Donations of (unopened) hygiene products can be dropped at OnlyNY (49 Franklin St) during business hours and monetary contributions are accepted via Open Collective.

Free Store

is exactly what you might imagine; a place where things are free to take and free to give! Free Store has grown to 4 locations in Brooklyn (Leonard St & Maujer St//S 2nd & Havemeyer//150 Greenpoint Ave//Graham Ave & Newton St). We continue to spread word throughout the community and were recently interviewed by NBC News NY, and mentioned in Governor Cuomo’s daily covid briefing email!  Our “A Love Letter to Brooklyn” school supply giveaway and Valentine’s Day card making party was a huge success! 💘

How to help: The Free Store team is currently in need of additional monitors at the 150 Greenpoint Ave location; an administrative partner to continue the “A Love Letter to Brooklyn” project; and assistance collecting community stories for social media and an upcoming community bulletin board project. Email nbkfreestore@gmail.com or sign up here if you are interested! 

Donated goods are always accepted: Free Stores are open and accessible 24/7. Please “be neighborly” and use hangers and cabinet spaces, rather than just leave bags and boxes of goods for our volunteers to dispose of. Specific needs include home goods, art & school supplies, sealed canned & dry food (NO GOYA) new/unopened toiletries, oddities, winter necessities, diapers & toys. NOTE we cannot accept donations of books, furniture, or large items at this time. Monetary contributions via Open Collective.

NBK Stewards

This past month, our volunteers have continued weekly clean ups in McGolrick Park, focusing on clearing snow and ice to make the park safer for our neighbors to use and enjoy throughout the winter. We also held our first all hands planning call, where we discussed spring planning efforts and upcoming projects for continued park and open space stewardship. These calls will be monthly, with the next one scheduled for March 16th--anyone interested in getting more involved with the Stewards is welcome to attend! Sign up below or reach out on Instagram for more information.

How to help: Sign up here to volunteer for Sunday clean ups. Our planning survey is live and we would love to hear your thoughts as we brainstorm and plan for the spring and summer 🌻


🔊 CALLS TO ACTION 🔊

  • Secure Open Streets! The North Brooklyn Open Streets Coalition (which includes our very own NBK Stewards) has been advocating for and maintaining open streets for the past several months. After a hiatus for the snowy weather, the Open Streets program is back in action: the Berry Street stretch is open, and the Driggs/Russell Streets will be returning soon as well. Come March, the DOT will be providing all stretches of Open Streets with new and improved metal barriers. The North Brooklyn Open Streets Coalition continues to advocate for and maintain the open streets, including frequent communication with the DOT as the program takes permanence in our neighborhood. Sign up to help with these efforts here.

  • Fight the North Brooklyn Pipeline! Neighbors from Brownsville to Greenpoint are still hard at work fighting the North Brooklyn Pipeline. If completed, it will raise our community’s energy bills in order to carry massive amounts of fracked gas through the borough, primarily in communities of color and those with a deep history of environmental injustice. The latest stage of this fight is right here in Greenpoint at National Grid’s massive 110 acre gas facility--and we can stop them. Join us for an information session on March 2nd at 6:30PM to learn more about the Department of Environmental Conservation hearing on March 10th. Join us as we stand together to say our community’s future must be one of environmental justice!

  • Help Us Make Meeker Move! For 70 years, Meeker Avenue under the BQE has served as infrastructure that divides our community while polluting residents with toxic fumes from constant car traffic. For over a decade, local leaders and residents have rallied for safety improvements on Meeker Avenue and a drastic reimagining of this space. At the end of 2020 the Department of Transportation began working on a plan to add hundreds of metered parking spots on Meeker Ave with no community input or feedback. We want DOT to move forward with our vision of Meeker Avenue as a quality open space that promotes community health and sustainability. Join us for a Street Safety Community Visioning Session on March 11th at 7PM. Register here.