Happy New Year from NBKMA!

December updates from our community initiatives + ways to get involved

Hey neighbors,

As this year comes to a close, we want to acknowledge the strength and support of our North Brooklyn neighborhood. For a year that has been filled with so many things—grief, sickness, anxiety, exhaustion to name a few—we are grateful to be in community with so many resilient, compassionate, and action oriented people like yourselves, especially as we head into 2021. Thank you for all the work you have done, and for all the work that you continue to do to uplift one another. We love you!

The Holiday Toy Drive wrapped on December 20th after collecting over 600 toys for kids in our community this holiday season. This effort was graciously and full-heartedly co-organized with Paulie Gee’s Slice Shop and Bad Mother Supper Club, along with the generosity of Greenpoint Toys. Neighbors donated over $2,600 through this initiative, and many amazing volunteers assisted with toy pickups, deliveries and promotion. A huge thanks to everyone who donated toys/money/time to this effort. We keep us in the holiday spirit!

On Christmas Day, NBKMA volunteers joined our partner Brooklyn Community Kitchen at Brooklyn Expo to serve a holiday luncheon to over 100 neighbors. Our Hygiene Kits initiative also provided 50 kits to be distributed at the meal, and our newest Essentials initiative distributed boxed meals, coffee, snacks, and coats from our Winter Clothing Drive to our unhoused neighbors under the BQE.

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NBKMA TO DATE:

  • More than 1,000 active volunteers (!)

  • Over 55,000 lbs of compost (500 lbs in the first 1.5 hr @ Transmitter!)

  • 2,000 hygiene kits built and distributed since July 

  • 600 toys distributed to neighbors this holiday season

  • Over $50,000 in donations via Open Collective

  • More than 50 stories documented through NBK Narratives

  • 11 active community initiatives

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

  • Over 12,000 masks delivered in partnership with Face Mask Aid

  • Over 1,000 neighbors on our community slack with 51 new members in the last week

CALLS TO ACTION 🔊

  • The People's Budget in District 33: Help to reimagine how to best serve people in the district! The participatory budgeting process this year will be funding community support projects. All ideas will be considered, so use your imagination. Questions can be directed to Ben Solotaire at bsolotaire@council.nyc.gov. Read full submission criteria and submit ideas here by January 29th.

  • 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 and recently launched a petition to extend the open streets program on Driggs and Berry Streets. Read and sign the petition to make our neighborhood’s streets permanent safe havens for families and neighbors with all abilities!

  • 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. In the last month the Department of Transportation has chosen to move forward with 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. Read and sign the petition here

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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

Thanks to our volunteers and the coordination of the dispatch team, we’ve onboarded over 1,000 volunteers as of this week! We’ve dispatched numerous volunteers to St. Stephen’s Outreach Soup Kitchen/Food Pantry, delivered groceries to families in need, and have organized to deliver cooked meals for the holidays. This work has been done in partnership with North Brooklyn Angels and Brooklyn Community Kitchen, as well as our fellow North Brooklyn neighbors. A HUGE shout out to those folks for their generosity and compassion--some of our volunteers have been delivering meals for 9 months and counting!

How to help: Visit https://northbrooklynmutualaid.org/Volunteer to tell us more about your interests and skills, and please fill out this form if you have a vehicle. Additional volunteers are needed for Thursday shifts (11am-3pm) at Taylor Wythe Houses Pantry (80 Clymer St). Please email greenpointhelpers@gmail.com with the subject line 'Taylor Wythe Pantry' for more information.

✨We’re excited to welcome two new initiatives!✨

North Brooklyn Device Drive

is working in partnership with Community Education Council District 14 to equip local students with devices for e-learning. District PTAs report that there are hundreds of students in need of devices--specifically iPads/tablets, Chromebooks, laptops, and other computers. Help us fulfill this basic need by donating working devices in good condition, or making a contribution via Open Collective or Venmo @nbkdevicedrive.

How to help: Have a working device to donate? Let us know @ bit.ly/nbkdevicedrive, or visit us in McGolrick Park on Sundays 10AM-1PM

NBK Essentials

Our Christmas day outreach also served as the soft launch of our newest direct outreach initiative (so new it doesn’t have an Instagram yet--stay tuned!) NBK Essentials will begin hosting a weekly “Breakfast Under the BQE" in partnership with other NBKMA initiatives to get food and other essential items directly to our unhoused neighbors. In addition to coffee, donuts, and other snacks, these events will distribute winter clothing and hygiene kits.

How to help: If you're interested in helping out, email NBKessentials@gmail.com with the subject line "Direct Outreach Volunteer." To donate winter coats, socks, hats, and gloves, use the subject line "Winter Coat Donation"

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North Brooklyn Mutual Aid Book Club

What is mutual aid? How does it differ from charity? How can we work better together, and foster solidarity and grassroots power now and for our future? Join mutual aid activists in New York and beyond to read and discuss scholar and activist Dean Spade’s Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During this Crisis (and the Next). The book club is going strong, and we've hosted two great conversations so far on the ideas and work of mutual aid with activists from New York to Seattle and beyond!

How to help: We'll have our next meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 13th at 7:30pm EST. New Members are welcome anytime! To join us, or for more info, visit tinyurl.com/NBKMABookCLub or contact benjaminadam2971@gmail.com.

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 launch of our new winter outpost in Transmitter was a big success--shout outs to Oliver and Clay for making that happen! 🐛

How to help: Big Reuse (who processes all of our scraps) is at risk of eviction by the Parks Department! Sign this petition to tell the Parks Department to save community compost sites! If you are interested in volunteering at one of our drop off sites, sign up here.

North Brooklyn Community Fridge

In a country that throws away upwards of 30% of its food supply, North Brooklyn Community Fridge helps get food into the hands of more people to fight food insecurity. Neighbors prepared the Greenpoint (17 Nassau Ave) and Cooper Park (76 Kingsland Ave) fridges for the snow, and both made it through! Both structures have been painted. Our community partners at BK Jani--who donate food to our fridges weekly--were featured on Zagat for their generosity!

How to help: Find more info on Instagram, or reach out → greenpointfridge@gmail.com. Donate via Open Collective or Venmo @NBkFridges.

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. Recently, volunteers have been making connections and providing support at Cooper Park Houses, focusing on remaining family member succession to Section 8 benefits.

How to help: To get involved or seek support, contact nbkhousingdefense@gmail.com or call 732-963-1309. Keep neighbors safe by demanding an eviction moratorium: call, email, and tweet @ Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

Essentially Open North Brooklyn

provides updates on local businesses. Our map now includes our NBK community fridges and Free Stores! Check out recent updates or submit updates online for your local business! 

How to help: Volunteers are needed to help keep hours and seating information up to date. Get in touch via Instagram DM @nbkmap or email nbklocal@gmail.com. We are also in search of folks looking to help build out our Retail listings and research minority/women owned businesses in 2021 :)

North Brooklyn Narratives 

is a volunteer-led oral history initiative which seeks to collect and preserve accounts of life in Greenpoint & Williamsburg in 2020, covering topics like: the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Black Lives Matter Uprising, and other experiences of this extraordinary historical moment. Since starting in March, we've recorded the stories and experiences of 50 neighbors! We are also in the beginning stages of building a community story map!

How to help: Do you have experience/ideas for the story map?! Get in touch! We are also continuing to interview neighbors and collect submissions (writing, art, poetry, humor etc.) for the Quarantine Zine. Sign up or submit by emailing: nbknarratives@gmail.com

Hygiene Kits

just finished our first at-home hygiene kit build! A team of 16 volunteers buit 550 kits from their homes (300 hygiene kits, 130 period kits, and 120 winter warmth kits). We held our first orientation for direct distribution volunteers, and this team has started distributing the kits directly to unhoused neighbors in their respective areas, and starting conversations with these neighbors about how else we can better support them. We also connected with Gowanus Mutual Aid and gave them 50 kits to share on the shelves of their brand new Free Store. Additional kits have been distributed on the shelves of our NBK Community Fridges and Free Stores. 

How to help: We are already gearing up for our next at-home build! Sign up for our volunteer list if you want to help build hygiene kits at home, or distribute kits to unhoused neighbors on foot. Donate via Open Collective or Venmo @ HygieneKitsNBK. We are also collecting donations of hygiene products and handwritten notes for neighbors, which can be left in the dropbox at Only NY on Franklin Street.

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 (PS18//S 2nd & Havemeyer//150 Greenpoint Ave//Graham Ave & Newton St). Newest location at PS18 (101 Maujer St) was created in partnership with their awesome PTA and was featured on News 12! Free Store was also covered in Curbed.

How to help: Donated goods are always accepted, either placed directly at a site or dropped at Quimby’s Bookstore. NOTE we currently cannot accept donations of furniture. Email NBKFreeStore@gmail.com to volunteer (especially if you have a car!) Donate via Open Collective//Venmo @nbkfreestore//PayPal NbkFreeStore@gmail.com.

NBK Stewards

This past month NBK Stewards have continued our Sunday park maintenance, including lots of leaf raking, storm drain clearing, and most recently some serious snow/ice removal. We also continue to collaborate with other local clean ups in North Brooklyn and beyond. Shoutout to our amazing volunteers!

How to help: Though we may be winding down in the next month due to the cold weather, keep an eye on our instagram @nbkstewards to stay in the loop ➰ ❆

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If there’s anything we can do to help you or your neighbors, please fill out our Request Form. You can also reach us at greenpointhelpers@gmail.com or call our voicemail system at 646-389-6019.

Warmly,

North Brooklyn Mutual Aid team

North Brooklyn Mutual Aid is a grassroots, volunteer-led network of neighbors supporting neighbors in need and building a more sustainable, equitable community. 

Stay informed on all things North Brooklyn Mutual Aid by following us on Instagram, connecting to our Slack Hub or joining our Facebook group