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
- Fentanyl Test Kits
- Warm clothes
- Over the counter pain-relief
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
- 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
- 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