Club A Kitchen - Free Community Meals in Bushwick

$3,720 of $6,000 goal

Raised by 40 people in 3 months
Created February 22, 2019
Club A Kitchen
Club A Kitchen is a newly-formed affinity group that serves food, distributes warm clothes, sleeping gear, basic material necessities, and harm reduction supplies for free. We seek to maintain a consistent and reliable presence to be counted-on by houseless people and other marginalized community members around the intersection of Myrtle Ave. and Broadway in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

It is important to us to engage in mutual aid and harm reduction, especially in this specific area.  Myrtle-Broadway is a zone which has been greatly affected by gentrification, while simultaneously undergoing rampant police surveillance and antagonization of marginalized groups living/spending time outside, affected by the increased attention/raids in response to the ongoing "K2 epidemic".

We draw resources from the punk community (as many of us are a part of the punk/political punk/activism scene in New York) and hope to use the resources gathered to fight against displacement and gentrification. Punk (as well as other music/social scenes) in Bushwick has directly attributed to gentrification, and it is impossible for some of us to ignore the hardship that others experience while having limited access to basic human needs (a warm place to sleep, clean water, a bathroom, a hot meal, a cup of coffee, etc.). We want to make sure that our community is accountable and supportive to our neighbors.

We have been serving food every Saturday from 1-4pm for one month now. We offer a warm place to sit, talk, eat, and obtain resources. The meal is not affiliated with any religious, political, or overt ideologies (beyond basic mutual aid).

So far we have given out:
- Hot food, as much as you can eat!
- Canned food/non-perishables
- Bread & Bagels
- Tarps
- Narcan
- Fentanyl Test Kits
- Warm clothes
- Over the counter pain-relief
- Shoes
- Toothbrushes/toothpaste

Canned food has been gathered at music/community events on a donation-based scale. We intend to keep taking canned food donations as they go quickly!

Hot food is made every Saturday morning and brought to our meal location. Some ingredients have been donated, and some cash donations have also been made, though right now our meals are being funded by ourselves and donations from others. At this time, we are estimated to be serving around 50 people each week, and each week more and more have been coming to eat/get involved. We keep our meals vegan so people with some dietary restrictions can eat. We try to have a little something for everyone.

The location we are currently using has a free store, and we have been accepting clothing donations and adding them to the free store for all to utilize.

We are here fundraising now to get some more specific supplies that we think are important/have been told are crucial and helpful from a handful of people. Below is a detailed list of everything we  have included on a checklist distributed at meals, so people can directly tell us what they need (we also take suggestions).  We have found bulk retailers and intend to order most of these supplies affordably online, though, of course, we will graciously accept donations.
- Sleeping bags
- Tarps
- Emergency sleeping bags (also used as liners in cold weather)
- Fleece blankets
- Sleeping pads
- To-go containers (we have supplied some to-go containers so people can take food home for their families as well as for themselves on-the-go if they can't stick around)
- Wool socks
- Tube socks
- Hand warmers
- Plateware (to decrease our footprint and limit our use of disposable dishes and bowls)
- Magic gloves
- Insulated gloves
- Beanie hats
- Fleece balaclavas
- Backpacks
- Hand sanitizer
- Menstrual products
- Toothbrushes and toothpaste

Additionally, we have factored in extra funds to be raised to support the meals themselves. Each meal right now runs us between $20-$40 depending upon what we serve. Supplies listed above are specifically crucial right now as we are experiencing very cold weather in New York (a polar vortex recently with painfully and dangerously cold temperatures). We hope to get people set up with their own resources and your basic day-to-day supplies needed to achieve simple comforts (ie: a backpack, if desired, with a sleeping setup, hygiene products, some warm layers, clean clothes, and snacks).

We hope to keep this going for as long as possible, and would love your help, as little or as much as you feel you can or want to contribute. We are excited by the huge response and massive amounts of support we have been getting, and endlessly appreciative of all the help everyone has offered. This is important to us, and we know it is for the community, as we hope it is to you as well!

Thanks for reading, and thanks in advance for your future help...
- Club A Kitchen Team
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Thank you all for your continued support!

In addition to serving hot meals on Saturday afternoons, we have opened up the space we are using each week on Wednesdays from 2pm to 6pm to host the free store, occasional snacks, and free/donation based cups of coffee and tea. We have been donated artwork and band merch which we hang up on Wednesdays to sell for additional fundraising aid. (We are always taking donations, in person and through mail!)

Many funds raised up to this point have been put toward acquiring various hygiene supplies and other things for basic survival through the winter (toothbrushes, menstrual products, blankets, hand sanitizer), for those outside or with little access to necessary resources. We are also now paying a fraction of our fundraising earnings towards utilization of the space each month. We are still estimating that around 50-60 people eat food each Saturday, and even more attend for other resources or to just hang out or lend a hand with cleaning up, maintaining the free store, etc.

Food and cooking ingredients are sometimes donated, and sometimes bought. The cost of a full meal generally averages to be around $40 to $60, depending upon what resources we have access to and what ingredients we already have. We try to keep our costs within this bracket. We have been able to have various supplies for cooking donated, though we have purchased some necessary supplies to cook such large meals! We have also been able to purchase reusable platewear, silverware, and cups in order to limit our footprint.

If you feel inclined to donate supplies to us...
for kitchen supplies, we need/would love to have:
- Large mixing bowls
- A good blender
- Immersion/stick blender
- Large food processor
- Good kitchen knives
- Serving utensils
- Cutting boards
- Large pots/pans (think commercial kitchen)
for cooking ingredients:
- Any and all spices!
- Olive oil
- Non-perishables (bulk)

We are also grateful for any connections to markets or individuals who have the ability to hand-off excess food product (ie: bagels, rolls, beverages, COFFEE & TEA!)
We also accept free store donations (clothing & shoes, mostly). Get in touch if you would like to drop off supplies or have something you think may be of use.
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$3,720 of $6,000 goal

Raised by 40 people in 3 months
Created February 22, 2019
Club A Kitchen
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