To give back to folks who have been selflessly helping the most vulnerable in the community, this Valentine’s Day, consider ordering from Nuestra Mesa BK, a Brooklyn-based kitchen collective, who along with Plants For The People are hosting a take-out meal fundraiser for Valentine’s Day to support two mutual aid organizations Comida Pal Pueblo and The Breakfast Collective. The funds raised will support their efforts of the two groups to help connect low-income and homeless people with food, PPE, and clothing this winter.
The four-course meal will include a starter, main, side, and dessert, all with vegan and gluten-free options. Each order will also receive one herb plant provided by Ji Hae Byun, the creator of LIVIN, and an illustration of an herb by artist OKNY. The prices for the meals are one for $36, two for $69, and four for $129, and orders close on Thursday, February 11.
Comida Pal Pueblo started last July and distributes food bi-weekly to Brooklyn neighborhoods, South/ East Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Bedstuy, and Bushwick, said Vianca Lugo, one of the founders of the organization. The group consists of three grass-root organizations, NY Boricua Resistance, Mi Casa Resiste, and G-REBLS, and also distributes clothing and PPE.
“When it started to get colder, we collected people’s contact info and switched to deliveries and pickups,” said Lugo.
“Since doing that, I think we’ve been able to really deepen our relationships with people and really assess needs in a deeper way. Now we’ve expanded to whatever people’s needs are like helping people with SSI paperwork, or, right now, we’re helping people to register for the vaccine. So it’s really grown into just like a community,” they added.
Comida Pal Pueblo has seen an increase in its expenses since they started delivering food to people in need this winter. Typically, Comida Pal Pueblo spends around $600 to $700 per distribution biweekly and serves around 150 families each time. Although the costs to keep the organization afloat are high, “as we started to like create these relationships, we realized like the need isn’t, isn’t going to go away, and so we’ve done everything we can to keep this afloat,” said Lugo.
Comida Pal Pueblo is funded through donations made through their website, fundraisers, and the donations of items, such as food and clothes.
“Our goal right now, like what we’ve been discussing, a lot more recently is trying to figure out how to get sustaining donors since this is something that we plan to continue as long as the need is there,” they added.
Comida Pal Pueblo also is looking for drivers and people who can help source new donations. To donate, volunteer, or become a monthly volunteer, click here.
The Breakfast Collective was started last September by Janelle, 23, whose pronouns are he/them.
“I was houseless until this year. Back and forth between staying on people’s couches, I lived in my car, on the street. It’s been a mess, and I understand how frustrating and unsafe it is to not eat. I just wanted to provide at least one meal, and breakfast is my favorite meal; it’s the first one,” they added.
Every Monday, the group of five volunteers serves free breakfast starting from 9 am on the corner of the Myrtle Ave/Broadway train station in BedStuy to around 80 to 100 people. “Everyone who volunteers with us is Queer/ Trans and is a Person of Color,” said Janelle.
The Breakfast Collective sets up a table filled with free coffee, snacks, bagels, egg and cheese sandwiches, masks, and hand warmers, which are paid for through their Instagram followers.
“We’re serving pretty much anyone who walks by, and that ranges from GrubHub drivers and construction workers to houseless folks and people getting treatment in the clinic next door,” Janelle added.
Once a month, the Breakfast Collective also redistributes $500 to $1,000 to donate to the GoFund Me’s, Cash Apps, and Venmos of Black trans women. The main thing that The Breakfast Collective needs to stay running is volunteers, said Janelle. To contact the group, you can message them on Instagram.