project leader
Sharon S
2037 Fulton Street
(Ocean Hill-Brownsville, East Bushwick)
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We're off to a good start!!

the project

The City is opening up - for some. Our elders are still vulnerable to COVID and its variants and homebound because of their age and health. We want to make sure they can stay home and still have access to healthy food. 

A year ago, the Phoenix Community Garden formed the Elder Box Program to provide fresh fruit and vegetables to elders in Ocean Hill-Brownsville and East Bushwick who are isolated because of the pandemic. We began with a dozen elders and thought we'd be doing this for a few months. One year later, we provide food security to 78 elders each week (and counting). Our team of volunteers source, pack, and deliver the bags of produce and pantry staples following social distancing protocols. These volunteers are also checking in with the elders, making sure they're ok and have everything that they need. A year into the pandemic, the future is still uncertain when our Ocean Hill and East Bushwick communities are some of the most at risk communities for the variants of the coronavirus. We are committed to providing food security to every elder by providing them with a fresh food box every week. We've delivered more than 3,500 Elder Boxes in the past year!

Our work has been successful and recognized. We were featured in National Geographic's How are older Americans fighting isolation during the pandemic? and by the New York Times' If All the Stores Close, We Need Food’: Community Gardens Adapt to the Pandemic.

Volunteers pack bags every Friday evening and then meet at Phoenix Garden every Saturday morning to deliver bags. We provided this security to our elders through the spring of 2020, when we didn't know what was happening, the summer and the fall when things got worse, and got better, and then worse again, and through the winter when the cold and snow added to the food insecurity challenges. We're still delivering Elder Boxes each week.

Thanks to the generous supporters of our previous IOBY campaign, we have funding to continue the program through July 2021. However, we need to continue the program through the end of the year to assure that our elders have the food they need and are now raising money for our work from August 1 through December 31, 2021. In those five months, with your help, we will deliver another 1,600 Elder Boxes. 

the steps

The process is pretty simple. On a weekly basis, we order the fresh produce and pantry staples, pack the bags and deliver them. The steps are:

Sunday and Monday: Place an order with our distributor, GrowNYC, which is a food distribution hub that sources from regional farmers, and with our other partners who provide healthy pantry items

Friday: receive pantry item deliveries and pack them

Saturday: Receive produce delivery, pack bags, handoff bags to our volunteer deliverers who deliver the bags, and do a wellness check with each delivery

Sunday: Call the elders to see how they like the bag and take notes for next week

why we're doing it

The Phoenix Community Garden in Ocean Hill-Brownsville, Brooklyn was established in 2006. The Garden grows nearly 2,000 pounds of beans, corn, collards, bitter melon, tomatoes, zucchini, herbs, and callaloo to feed the neighborhood. The Garden provides fresh food, green space, and community to folks in Ocean Hill-Brownsville. Even before the pandemic, Ocean Hill-Brownsville and East Bushwick was a "food swamp" area -- you could get all the fast food and potato chips that you wanted, but fresh healthy fruits and vegetables are not readily available. Now, Ocean Hill-Brownsville and East Bushwick are "hot spots" for the coronavirus and its variants. By providing a weekly bag of produce plus high-quality pantry staples, we are making sure our elders are safe, healthy, and fed with food that boosts their immune systems. We do this because we love our communities and our elders and believe they deserve fresh, healthy food. 


Updated Budget (9.8.21)

Total number of elders


Fresh fruit and groceries cost per week:


Weeks per month


Months per year (8/21-12/21)


TOTAL RAISED = $16,277.04
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) N/A
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $255.41


Original Budget: 

Totals based on 78 food boxes each week for a month

Fresh fruit and groceries: approximately $11 per person per week

Pantry staples (rice, beans, cornmeal, pasta, sauce, honey, cooking oil, etc.): approximately $6 per person per week

Total food costs: $17 per person per week, or (17*78*4) $5,304 per month

Funding August 2021 through December 2021 (5 months)

Total project cost: $5,304 * 5 = $26,520

ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) N/A
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)
(Donation processing fee does not apply to match funding.)
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.  


We're off to a good start!!

Thank you to all who have donated! We're off to a great start! Because of our match, we only have to raise 1/2 the money that we need and if you can help, please get the word out! Consider posting something on social media - why does this work matter to you? Need inspiration? Here's a sample post:

The Phoenix Community Garden Elder Box Program is a food security, mutual aid effort - we want our elders to know that they can rely on weekly fresh produce. Help us raise the funds to keep providing fresh produce to our community elders through 2021. Although the pandemic may be ending for some, our elders are still vulnerable. RIGHT NOW we have the chance to MATCH EVERY DONATION dollar for dollar. $17 provides fresh food for one elder for a week; $66 for a month; $340 will support one elder through the end of the year. Give what you can! 



This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


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