project leader
Robyn H
121 Beach 92 St
Queens (Rockaway)
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SHORE Benefit: Revitalizing Rockaway, Creating Healthy Food Access

the project

Our mission is to increase access to healthy food for members of the Rockaway community, using a holistic approach which builds community through supporting the whole person. The primary goal is to establish a pay-as-you-can restaurant and multipurpose community center that will allow community members to access healthy organic food with dignity. Under the pay-as-you-can model, there are no fixed prices: customers can contribute a suggested donation or volunteer their time in exchange for a meal. Some people will pay more than the suggested donation knowing that doing so helps to cover people who can't afford to pay. Those who can't afford to pay can also volunteer their time to offset the cost of a meal. This model has already been applied successfully at Jon Bon Jovi's Soul Kitchen in New Jersey, as well as at over 30 restaurants and cafes in the country. This past summer, we successfully operated a mobile kitchen in the Rockaways utilizing this model, and are eager to expand on the concept in a full-scale, brick-and-mortar establishment. As we work toward this goal we are also committed to establishing and maintaining community gardens and are now beginning work on our second garden project in Rockaway.

the steps

In the 4 months after Sandy, we were serving 600-1500 meals each day. We are now looking to establish a permanent location in Rockaway. This will allow us to serve more people, continuing to provide access to healthy organic food, in what has become a food desert. In addition to our regular deliveries, we will be able to serve those who visit our location. Our intermediate step was the successful launch of a pay-as-you-can mobile kitchen this past summer, which provided proof of concept, as well as begin building our presence immediately this summer. Our ultimate goal will be to establish our brick-and-mortar relief restaurant, SHORE. The establishment of a full brick-and-mortar venue will require a significant investment of initial capital, which is why we our goal for ioby is high. We will need to purchase/lease a suitable location, upgrade or refit the kitchen, these tasks alone could cost more than $100,000. Other considerations include ensuring a living wage for kitchen managers who are residents of the Rockaways and can help coordinate volunteers. Additional costs include permit fees, insurance, and costs of raw ingredients. The taxes and fees will cost in excess of $15,000 per year.

why we're doing it

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, as residents of Rockaway and small business owners, we formed the Rockaway Rescue Alliance to offer support to our neighbors. The boardwalk, which was the previous location of our concession and mobile food businesses, has been destroyed and many homes were flooded, structurally compromised and covered in black mold. Residents were without power, heat and hot water, a situation that for many continues to this day. Immediately, it became clear that in the absence of a large-scale initial institutional response, what was needed was for neighbors to begin helping neighbors. During the winter after Sandy, we delivered an average of 800 hot meals door-to-door daily and have reached a range of different populations including: homebound seniors, families without access to healthy food, individuals living in public housing and affected renters and home owners. Our network of over 400 volunteers made our soups from farm fresh produce donated by GrowNYC and other farmers’ organizations. 

While the food emergency in the Rockaways has receded, the lack of access to healthy food is an enduring issue for our community. We have shifted our focus towards addressing this problem through an integrated set of solutions including a permanent pay-as-you-can restaurant as well as building a local, organic urban agriculture infrastructure.


beautiful work! good job!


Yearly food Supply- 48,000
Yearly Packaging Supply- $24,000
Yearly Kitchen Rental- $18,000
Yearly Kitchen Utility- $5,000
Yearly Delivery Transportatation-$10,000
Yearly  Miscelaneous: Kitchen Laundry. Soup Labels etc- $5,000
Kitchen Liablity and  Worker Disability Insurance -$20,000
Subtotal = $130,000

ioby material & labor fee = $35
Third Party Credit Card Processing Fee = $3,900

Total = $133,935


SHORE Benefit: Revitalizing Rockaway, Creating Healthy Food Access

End-of-Summer Updates!

This past summer, we were able to operate our pay-as-you-can mobile kitchen successfully, serving thousands of meals to local residents and visitors alike. As we expected, many people paid a suggested donation price, while some were more generous. We were happy to provide the same quality, nutritious, organic food to those who could not afford to pay. You can see a piece about our party celebrating the summer of pay-as-you-can meals on NY1. We are also excited to welcome two AmeriCorps members to our team who are joining us through the NYC Civic Corps program.

SHORE Benefit on 10/23!

We are feverishly working to coordinate our first major fundraising event, coinciding with the first anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, on October 23rd at 7:30PM at the Bowery Hotel (335 Bowery, New York, NY). The event will feature a variety of tastings from local restaurants and beverage purveyors, as well as an art auction.

We hope some of you can join us at the event, you can find more details and purchase tickets here.


This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


  • East Bay Community Foundation
  • Elizabeth M.
  • Anonymous
  • Courtney C.
  • Erin H.
  • Bruce C.
  • Chris W.
  • Kelley G.
  • Tamara G.
  • Charlotte K.
  • Marten V.
  • Cassie D.
  • Robert M.
  • Marie C.
  • Inbar K.