North Brooklyn Community Update: 10/26

Hey neighbors,

Happy almost Halloween! It’s been a while since our last update but we’re excited to share some of the wonderful accomplishments our community members have achieved over the last couple months. Read on to learn about the latest with our community initiatives, how you can get involved (if you’re keen), and the upcoming Halloween festival we’re planning in McGolrick Park! 

A huge shoutout to everyone reading, sharing, and volunteering their time and energy to our wonderful community—we couldn’t do any of this without you! If you know someone who would like to get involved (or who isn’t subscribed to these emails) feel free to send this their way :)

NBKMA to date:

  • Nearly 1,000 active volunteers (!)

  • Nearly 40,000 lbs of compost 

  • Over $30,000 in donations via Open Collective

  • 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

  • 10 community initiatives (more on that below!)

TL;DR (actions to take this week and next)

  • Make a voting plan! Check out NBKVotes for early voting resources and ways to help GOTV.

  • Save your food scraps for Sunday drop off at McGolrick Park (10AM-1PM) with North Brooklyn Compost Project, or Cooper Park (12-3PM) courtesy of BK Scrap Shuttle.

  • Donate your (clean) winter clothing this Sunday, 11/1 at McGolrick Park.

  • Get down and dirty (or just dirty) with NBK Stewards. McGolrick Park cleanups happen Sundays at 10AM.

  • Tell your story to NBK Narratives, become an interviewer, or submit to the zine. 

  • Join NBKMA Saturday 10/31 for a family friendly daytime Halloween festival in McGolrick Park. Music, costume parade, comedy magic, and more! See flyer below for details and ways to get in on the fun (shoutout to Odes Roberts for the design!)

Open Collective Fundraising

As we've expanded our initiatives at North Brooklyn Mutual Aid (they’ve almost doubled since our last newsletter!) we've updated our Open Collective donation page to make it easier to support different initiatives. 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. Shout out to the Brooklyn Brewery, who donated $5,000 to NBKMA from the sales of one of their limited edition beers this summer, and The Lot Radio for powering the Greenpoint Community Fridge and hosting fundraising events!

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

Dispatch onboarded two new incredible members: Camila and Britt, adding to the team of nearly 1,000 volunteers, including Danielle, Andres, Lauren, Eric, and Daeha ❤️ They–along with 50+ volunteers each week–will continue to support weekly hot meal delivery and food pantries with our friends North Brooklyn Angels, Northside Senior Center, Los Sures, and St. Stephen’s.

How to help: Visit https://northbrooklynmutualaid.org/Volunteer to tell us more about your volunteers interests and skills–and tell your NBK friends! There is a  particular need for St. Stephen’s newly reopening soup kitchen and ongoing food pantry.

North Brooklyn Compost Project

collects food scraps from North Brooklyn residents. Did you know that the city has stopped collecting compost? (And many buildings still don’t have compost bins anyways…) If you are new to composting, keep a bag in your freezer with scraps for the week until Sunday. 

How to help: Come out and compost every Sunday from 10AM-1PM in McGolrick Park and 12pm-3pm in Cooper Park. Follow @nbkcompost and @bkscrapshuttle on Instagram!✨

Greenpoint Community Fridge

In a country that throws away upwards of 30% of its food supply, Greenpoint Community Fridge helps get food into the hands of more people. Their mission is to fight food insecurity and work to eliminate food waste in the North Brooklyn community. This entire operation is maintained daily by volunteers (!) with locations at The Cooper Park Community Center and The Lot Radio. 

^ Community fridges at 17 Nassau Avenue and 76 Kingsland Ave are being winterized for year-round use. A recent fundraiser at the Lot Radio raised over $1,600 in support of this effort!

How to help: Fundraisers happen regularly which you can find more info about on Instagram. If you want to get involved, Venmo @NBkFridges or reach out → greenpointfridge@gmail.com 

North Brooklyn Housing Defense

NBKHD 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, documenting concerns and isolating issues that may benefit from further support, and then either (a) filling in information gaps by coordinating access to resources or (b) advocating on behalf of the tenant for free legal support from a public interest legal service provider. Secure, habitable housing is a human right, and North Brooklyn Housing Defense takes the position that our ability to defend this right, both during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, is rooted in sustainable relationships with our neighbors at risk of eviction. 

How to help: To get involved or seek support, contact nbkhousingdefense@gmail.com or call 732-963-1309.

Essentially Open North Brooklyn

EONBK provides updates on local bars & restaurants. Check out recent updates from your local bars & restaurants now that indoor dining at 25% capacity is available, and outdoor seating is available for restaurants year round!

How to help: Volunteers to call/ask local businesses for updated hours are needed, particularly those with little social media presence like laundromats and pharmacies. We need help especially in East Willamsburg and South Willamsburg! Submit updates online for your local business! And stay safe :)

North Brooklyn Census/NBK Votes

From late August until early October, North Brooklyn Census—a group of 25 North Brooklyn Mutual Aid volunteers—conducted 20+ canvassing events to promote awareness about and directly help our neighbors fill out the 2020 Census. Working with community partners from organizations such as North Brooklyn Neighbors, Los Sures, local elected officials' offices, and federal & NYC census outreach teams, the group canvassed public parks, markets, and Black Lives Matters events. In addition to in-person canvassing, volunteers also participated in phone & text banks organized by the City to reach low-response neighborhoods in Brooklyn. From now until November 3rd, the group has repurposed their @nbkcensus IG account to promote info & awareness regarding early voting. New handle: @nbkvotes

Special shoutouts to:

  • NBKMA volunteer Djamika Smith who designed eye-catching posters that helped promote the 2020 Census! 1000 of these posters were printed and posted throughout Greenpoint and Williamsburg.

  • Neighbor Sabine Rogers who produced a suite of 4 Facebook ads which were promoted locally to users in NBK. The ad campaign yielded 1.1M impressions and 3.5 click throughs to the 2020census.gov site!

North Brooklyn Narratives 

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. 

How to help: NBK Narratives is actively looking for neighbors to become interviewers, soliciting writing/art for their Quarantine Zine (featuring anything created since March), which will be a fundraiser for North Brooklyn Mutual Aid. Sign up or submit for the zine by emailing: nbknarratives@gmail.com

Hygiene Kits

The Hygiene Kits initiative just completed their October build. They reached their fundraising goal for the month and built 500 kits that are being distributed by Los Sures Pantry, the Greenpoint Fridge, Cooper Park Fridge, and the Ridgewood Community Fridge. They’re also planning to host a training for volunteers who want to assist with neighborhood outreach and direct distribution of hygiene kits to unhoused neighbors in the area. The first part of this training will be in McCarren Park on Wednesday, October 28th at 7PM. Special thanks to Rocky Fine and Sarah Schneider for all of their help coordinating! 

How to help: Keep an eye on their Instagram for more info, and sign up for their volunteer list if you’d like to attend future builds

Free Store

A place where things are free to take and free to give! New Free Stores just went up at Marcy & Metropolitan AND on South 2nd St near Havemeyer in Williamsburg. If you have anything to donate–please head directly to the PopUps and replenish the community shelves! Find them on Instagram at @nbkfreestore and visit the highlights section for more details. 

How to help: To get directly involved with build outs, please email NBKFreeStore@gmail.com and if you wish to donate, funds can be directed via PayPal: NBKFreeStore@gmail.com specific donations needed: home & school supplies, canned food, dry goods, clothing, books and toys. 

Winter Clothing Drive: 

North Brooklyn Mutual Aid has been collecting winter clothing for our neighbors at a table in McGolrick Park for the past three Sundays from 10AM-2PM, and will conclude on November 1st. They’ve donated over 115 coats, 120 hats, 110 sweaters, 54 pairs of gloves, and 80 pairs of warm socks to the BRC Men’s Shelter and the Worker’s Justice Project. 

How to help: Drop off warm coats, hats, gloves, scarves, and socks at their table near the Russell St. entrance of the park, or consider making a $5 donation via Venmo to @NBKCoatDrive to help buy one pair of warm socks.

NBK Stewards

NBK Stewards are continuing their twice weekly cleanups with volunteers and starting to do some cold weather planning. Since beginning in July they’ve done 14 Sunday clean ups in McGolrick Park and in 13 other parks in the neighborhood. Shoutout to all our volunteers making it happen every week!! 

How to help:Come out to the Sunday cleanups in McGolrick Park and watch their Instagram @nbkstewards to keep up to date on other parks and open space cleanups in the neighborhood

The McCarren Park Gathering

(@mccarrengathering) set out to reach 2,021 voters in swing states by writing personal messages encouraging them to vote and providing them with information and  resources to do so. Together with VoteFWD.org (@votefwd) neighbors at The McCarren Gathering adopted 2,230 voters, wrote notes of encouragement and raised $1,226.50 to buy stamps, all while sitting together in the park under the open sky! North Brooklyn Mutual Aid provided funding to buy 500 stamps and has helping to ensure each letter could be posted and mailed for the #BigSend with Vote Forward on October 17th. Volunteers collected completed letters, organized, counted, sealed, added stickers and stamped them before ceremoniously taking them to the Post Office to be sent out to our adopted voters. 

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 646-389-6016.

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.