A look back at 2022 with Sunnyside & Woodside Mutual Aid
Published on December 21, 2022 by SWMA
In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sunnyside & Woodside Mutual Aid (SWMA) formed as group of neighbors acting collectively to address community needs and take care of each other. Nearly three years later, we are continuing our work building connections with neighbors to develop alternative care-based responses to the needs of our communities. From individuals and community gardens to food pantries and social clubs, we collaborate to share the abundance of resources that exists and to create and implement the channels to equitably redistribute it amongst our neighbors.
This past year, our primary focus has been continuing to distribute free groceries through weekly pop-up pantries at the 61st St-Woodside MTA Station and Woodside Houses. This work has required us to streamline our workflows and sourcing for food and supplies, which in addition to pantry maintenance has allowed us to host food and supply drives and community potlucks to further strengthen ties with our community.
By refining our organizational processes, our group has also been able to more easily welcome and incorporate 75 new members this year, with approximately 120 of our members signing up for a pantry shift since January.
This year we spent…
$22,800+ on produce, shelf-stable groceries, and transportation to keep our pantries running
$8,700+ on collaborating with and supporting local community projects and groups including Undocu Mami Mutual Aid, The Connected Chef Lifeline Grocery Program, Astoria Mutual Aid Network, Mariposa, Woodside Community Fridge, 45th Street Composters, Bluestockings Free Store, New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), and Elmhurst Community Fridge 2
$3,300+ on direct aid to neighbors as part of our Community Aid Coordination program, which we sunsetted in February 2022
As a grassroots and volunteer-led group, we have been able to keep our overhead expenses such as web hosting and online tools to about $600, less than 2% of all spending this year.
In 2023, we will continue to prioritize the sustainability of our efforts. We hope to resume our food & supply drive near the Sunnyside Greenmarket, which will help us raise our profile, solicit donations, and encourage more people in the community to get involved. If you have ideas or would like get involved, sign up at swma.nyc/join to receive our weekly newsletter and an invitation to our Slack.
We want to thank nearly 500 of our friends, family members, and neighbors for playing a crucial role in our work by contributing to our Open Collective. If you would like to set up a recurring donation or make an additional one-time contribution, you can do so at swma.nyc/donate.
Happy holidays and see you in 2023!