project leader
Catherine F
location
25-82 Steinway St
(Astoria)
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the project

The Astoria Food Pantry is a volunteer-run and community-funded food pantry and mutual aid space. 

Our primary project is a weekly food pantry that provides food to about 250 households per week. We buy high-quality fresh produce, eggs, milk, grains, and legumes to make sure that we can provide nutritious staples to as many people as we can. In addition to the standard bag containing those items, we also stock our shelves with additional foods our neighbors request, such as coffee and cereal. Just like our bags, this food is purchased by the community, for the community, in the form of individual food or monetary donations. 

We do this entirely through individual donations - we don’t receive support from the government or any major food banks. This is a conscious choice. We reject the charity model and choose to stand in solidarity with our neighbors, one grocery bag at a time, no questions asked. This independence allows us to not require anyone to show an ID or answer questions about their household, so we can serve everyone in our community, even if we don’t speak their language or if they want to keep their information private.

As well as a food pantry, our space hosts other community efforts, like a free clothing store, free book store, and a tenant union. As a mutual aid group, we believe that solidarity is an act, and all issues of injustice are interconnected. While we spend our money on food, we don’t confine our actions to the issue of food. We distribute other necessities that we know through our political and economic systems are too often inaccessible or unaffordable: menstrual products, diapers, contraceptives, naloxone, fentanyl test strips, and more. We provide space and support for our community members who organize for change through protest and advocacy, and we reject partnerships with police, polluters, developers, and other institutions that cause harm to our community. 

We have been operating our pantry for over a year now, and while the threat of COVID-19 has lessened, the effects on our community will be with us for a long time. We want to continue to provide food support to our neighbors so that anyone who is having trouble paying for their basic needs can always come to us to have at least one need met. By supporting each other through a tough time, we help everyone by building safer and healthier communities.

the steps

We plan to continue to operate our food pantry on a weekly basis, distributing bags of groceries every Friday morning to anyone in need of food.

Every week we buy around $2500 worth of food in order to distribute it. That food makes around 220 bags, each one containing:

  • 1lb rice & 1lb pasta
  • 1lb lentils & 1lb dry black beans or chickpeas
  • 1 quart milk & 12 eggs
  • 7-8 pieces of fruit (usually apples and bananas)
  • 10-12 vegetables (usually potatoes, onions, squash, peppers)

We also distribute food that we receive for free, including donations from individuals, small businesses, other mutual aid groups, and nonprofits. In the coming months we plan to add more food donation drives and community events to bring even more food into the pantry and hopefully increase the number of households we can support each week. We also plan to grow our partnerships with local businesses and mutual aid groups to support food rescue when food would otherwise be wasted. 

why we're doing it

The number of people who visit our pantry every week has grown consistently since we first opened the pantry onto Steinway St in 2020. Congress thinks the crisis is over, and they are acting like food insecurity has vanished. We know from our experience on the ground that this is not the truth. Our Friday line has grown over the course of this year, and the 250 bags we can afford is not enough to adequately support our neighbors. While the US government chooses to think the crisis is over, we choose to keep our doors open.

We do this work not because we think it will fix everything - a bag of groceries cannot fix economic insecurity. But we do it because food is something everyone needs, and we need it every day, every week, no matter what. There is more than enough food to feed everyone in our city, but we lack the political will to make it happen. In the meantime, we will continue to support our community, and organize for a future where everyone’s needs - food, housing, health care, internet, transit, and more - are treated as human rights.

budget

We spend approximately $2,500 per week to buy food to make 220 grocery bags:

  • $350 on fresh fruits
  • $900 on fresh vegetables
  • $250 on eggs
  • $300 on milk
  • $400 on dried legumes
  • $300 on rice & pasta

$65,000 would provide enough for 6 months of food purchasing for our pantry, allowing us to continue to buy fresh, good-quality food for our neighbors for the rest of 2020. 



TOTAL PROJECT FUNDING NEEDED $65,000
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $3,504
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)
(Donation processing fee does not apply to match funding.)
$1,577
TOTAL TO RAISE= $70,081
Donation processing fees apply to donations only. 100% of match funding goes to projects. Please note, fees are estimated here and final numbers may change based on the final amount raised and amount of match funding applied to this campaign.  

 

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