Astoria Food Pantry and Astoria Mutual Aid are two volunteer-run groups that were started in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since 2021 we have been operating a community center on Steinway St in Astoria, distributing groceries, meals, diapers, clothes, books, and more to the community. We provide a space for activists, artists, workers, and all of our neighbors to come together and engage in free activities and community building, and get material support when they need it.
This fund pays primarily for food & diapers that we purchase for our community, and the rent and other bills that keep our community center open.
We buy about $1500-2000 worth of food per week, which we distribute in about 400 bags of groceries. We spend most of it on fresh fruits and vegetables and rice in bulk. We also spend $1000-2000 on diapers and baby wipes for our twice monthly distributions.
The rent on our space, along with bills, costs us a little over $5000 each month.
This fund also helps to pay for seasonal or emergency responses, such as our yearly school supply and holiday toy events. Our budget allows for $1000 per month on these types of expenses, though occasionally we will ask the community for approval for a larger project.
Budgets for the food pantry are agreed upon based on our savings and recent fundraising. We discuss these budgets and decide on them as a group in our monthly community meetings, which are open to anyone involved as a volunteer, recipient, donor, neighbor, and/or more.