NBKMA January Updates

Updates from your local community initiatives + ways to get involved

Hey neighbors,

Happy New Year! We hope this update finds you enjoying a safe and healthy start to 2021. As we continue life in this state of pandemic and crisis, we remain committed to examining how to best leverage our collective power and resources to serve our neighbors who need it most. 

We’re continuing our direct outreach work through NBK Essentials, and introducing NBK Vax—an initiative that aims to assist neighbors with the logistics of getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Read on to learn what our local initiatives are up to and find ways to get involved!


NBKMA TO DATE:

  • 4 pop-up Free Stores

  • 10 active community initiatives

  • More than 50 stories documented through NBK Narratives

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

  • 600 toys distributed to neighbors this past holiday season

  • Nearly 1,200 active volunteers (!)

  • 3,000 hygiene kits built and distributed since July 

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

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

  • Over $60,000 in donations via Open Collective

  • Over 70,000 lbs of food scraps collected for community compost

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 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! You can also sign up to register for two upcoming feedback and visioning sessions on 2/10 at 6PM and 2/11 at 12PM

  • 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


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. We’re currently planning a clothing fundraiser featuring art from a local artist; more details to come! 👕

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 afloat, 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.


✨We’re excited to welcome another new initiative!✨

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. 

How to help: We need volunteers to support this effort! Sign up here or reach out on Instagram if that’s you, and stay tuned for more next steps!


North Brooklyn Device Drive

We’re working in partnership with Community Education Council District 14 (CEC14) to equip local students with devices for e-learning. In our first month, we handed off 21 devices to CEC14. Still, at least 2,000 more students in North Brooklyn are in need, and we’re gearing up to facilitate larger bulk donations in the month ahead. The most requested devices remain laptops, Chromebooks, tablets/iPads, and computers. We’ll be kicking off a collaboration with NBK Essentials to collect working smartphones for our unhoused neighbors; more details to come 📱

How to help: Help us equip students by donating a working device in good condition, or making a contribution via Open Collective or Venmo @nbkdevicedrive. You can also find us nearby the Compost Project in McGolrick Park every Sunday, 10AM-1PM.

NBK Essentials

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. Our resource distribution team provided winter clothing, lanterns, phone chargers, batteries, hot hands, PPE and more to some of our most vulnerable neighbors. We've also helped our friends wash laundry, access social services, connect to family members, and find respite indoors. 

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 or Venmo @nbkessentials. Follow us on Instagram @nbkessentials 

North Brooklyn Compost Project

We collect 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. We're super grateful to our incredible volunteers who continue to show up every weekend, even as the temperatures drop ⛄

How to help: Save your scraps for Sunday drop-off, sign up here if you’re interested in volunteering at one of our drop off sites. Read up on Big Reuse’s ongoing battle against eviction in Queens (they process all of our scraps!) Stay tuned for more ways to tell the Parks Department not to pit two important community causes against each other (Queensbridge Houses vs Big Reuse) and to both build a new park for Queensbridge residents and allow Big Reuse to continue their essential work!

North Brooklyn Fridges

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. In the past month we’ve added new coordinators to the team, have started receiving more regular deliveries, and our partnership with BK Jani is still going strong. Volunteers touched up the paint on the Greenpoint fridge, and we’re exploring solar and other alternative energies for both sites!

How to help: Donate food directly to our Greenpoint (17 Nassau Ave) and Cooper Park (76 Kingsland Ave) fridges. Please label prepared food. Find more info on Instagram, or reach out → greenpointfridge@gmail.com. Donate via Open Collective or Venmo @NBkFridges.

North Brooklyn Housing Defense

We offer 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 had an eventful start to 2021! We hosted a “Know Your Rights” training 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 Spanish, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese (Traditional/ Simplified), Haitian-Creole, Polish, and Russian!

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

We provide 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: 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

We’re in the middle of our January at-home kit build! A team of 24 volunteers are building 600 kits from their homes this week, and our distribution volunteers are already starting to distribute the finished kits to unhoused neighbors in their areas. We have also begun early conversations about starting a diaper bank in the community to supply weekly diapers and wipes to families in need. If you're interested in helping to coordinate this project, please reach out to hygienekitsnbk@gmail.com. A BIG Welcome to Juliana Jurenas, our fantastic new volunteer coordinator! She is taking over for the amazing Rocky Fine, who is moving to California soon and will be missed. We are so grateful for both of their work and support! 💖

How to help: Sign up for our volunteer list if you want to help build hygiene kits at home, or distribute kits to unhoused neighbors on foot. Donations of (unopened) hygiene products can be dropped at OnlyNY (49 Franklin St) during business hours--please check our Instagram for updates on what products are needed vs fully stocked. Right now, we are most in need of hand/foot warmers, tampons, and pads. Donate via Open Collective or Venmo @ HygieneKitsNBK.

Free Store

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. Saturday, February 13th the PS18 Free Store will be hosting “A Love Letter to Brooklyn” a giant school supply giveaway and Valentine’s Day card making party from 11am-5pm so come on by!

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 our volunteers have continued to impress us by coming out in the colder conditions! We have continued weekly clean ups in McGolrick Park and recently partnered with the Newtown Creek Alliance to do a waterfront clean up of Penny Bridge

How to help: Sign up here to volunteer for Sunday clean ups. We continue to keep an eye on the weather and make a judgement call by Saturday each week. Follow us on Instagram for all the latest! 


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.