Community Solidarity is more than a nonprofit; it’s more than a grassroots movement; Community Solidarity is a philosophy. A philosophy based on the belief that empowered compassionate communities can heal themselves and in doing so create the blueprint for greater social change. Essentially, we exist to put ourselves out of business. We don’t want to address hunger, or poverty, or homelessness; we want to eliminate those problems completely.
Our goal is to fight the social, economic and environmental oppressions that are inflicted upon our community and our planet.
Largely we do this by providing groceries, fresh produce and warm vegan meals to low-income communities. All the food we distribute is completely vegetarian and mostly organic. We collect clothing, books, toiletries, and toys for redistribution as well. We organize guerrilla gardening programs that range from blanketing neighborhoods with sunflowers to providing families with peach trees.
Over the past few years, the amalgamation of our conglomerated endeavors has to lead to a community of volunteers numbering in the thousands. Spread across Long Island and NYC, these volunteers rescue millions of pounds of fresh produce for ending up in the landfill and, in doing so, provide for the total nutritional needs of over 6,500 people each week. From rescuing over 4.1 million pounds of nutritious foods in 2016 to operating 24/7 throughout every major storm and emergency over the past few years. The resilience of the Community Solidarity method is new, dynamic unparalleled in the nonprofit world. This method is why we’re one of the fastest growing grassroots food distribution operation in the country.
We exist to end hunger, poverty, and homelessness; completely and permanently.
Our goals, which are admittedly lofty, are achievable with your help, their achievable if enough people like you get up and say no more. Unfortunately, such mass social empowerment is rare in our history. Too often people like us, or our neighbors, are divided and alienated by each other. There are very real illnesses in our society, from racism, sexism, war, environmental destruction, poverty, corporate greed, and government oppression. We’re taught to ridicule those we view as others, who close off those who disagree and in doing so we let cancers like poverty and alienation grow in our communities. Yet, while these evils undoubtedly affect our collective lives each day they are not something we are powerless to stop.
Community Solidarity welcomes all people, regardless of age, sex, sexual identity, religion, political background or ethnicity. A thriving community is a diverse community, with many different ideas, with disagreements, with conflicts, and of most importance, a thriving community relies on the voices of everyone.
For this reason, Community Solidarity is a non-hierarchical organization. We are all equal, we all have the same ability to improve our neighborhoods and we all have an equal say in the decision making process.
History of Community Solidarity
Community Solidarity, Inc. became operational in May of 2011, but the philosophy behind it was growing for years across Long Island. This all really started in the summer of 2006. A few impassioned twenty-something’s wanted to give back to the community and decided to create a local Food Not Bombs chapter in Hempstead.
Food Not Bombs is an international movement that believes food is a right, not a privilege. The organization is founded on three basic principles. First, food is a human right that should be upheld by the community. Second, issues of hunger and poverty cannot be addressed without addressing the issue of war. While trillions of our tax dollars are spent on weapons of mass destruction only a morsel is given to social needs like food, house, education and healthcare. In essence, hunger can not be addressed without addressing why people are hungry. Third, all decisions of food not bombs should be made through concessions amongst members of the community.
From the inception of our first Food Share in 2006, this idea of food as a human right sparked an incredible movement for social change. Over time, the small food share that was created in Hempstead grew into a community of hundreds, and eventually satellite shares started to popup across Long Island from Huntington to Farmingville.
As this community grew, the realities of our operation started to change. No longer were volunteers just collecting a few bags of bread each Sunday. There were now hundreds of volunteers organizing pickups each day, throughout the day, 24/7. The need for a more managed organization to help provide a constant flow of donations began to become apparent.
Aspirations also began to grow. What if we could collect millions of pounds of food? What if we could monitor the nutrition of the foods we collect? What if we could provide school supplies for all the kids at our shares, or winter jackets for our homeless neighbors? How to achieve these goals was the problem that took years of planning to work out. The answer to all these aspirations became the nonprofit we’d create over the coming years, Community Solidarity.
The Radical Super Market
One aspect of our operation that is extraordinarily unique to Community Solidarity is the immense scale of what we do. People that come to one of our Food Shares don't just get some food; we share a good portion of what those people nutritionally need for their whole week.
That means on most days, folks can leave with 3 or 4 large bags of fresh organic groceries, (breads, fruits, veggies, protein, juice etc.)
When you come to a Community Solidarity Food Share community members also share other necessities like clothing, books, toys, seeds, tools, and literature. In essence our inevitable goal is to share everything someone might need for their week, or what they might need for their job, or their family or just their day-today lives.
This massive assortment of free stuff also attracts crowds of hundreds at a time. Because of the massive volume of food, materials and people we often run our Food Shares like radical super markets.
It goes like this, over the area of a city block we have tables separated into sections individually specified for various items like bread, fruits and veggies, sweets, frozen foods, grocery items, clothing, community supported literature and hot vegan meals.
If you come to a Food Share and only need clothing then you can just go to the clothing area, if you only want fruits you can go to that area, and so on. We try to have numerous assistances throughout the crowd and at our tables to help you find the items you're looking for.
Supported by & Supporting Local Business
Everything goes hand-in-hand.
Food is a Right, and it's about time we as a society make it so. Community Solidarity helps to share free food and a vast majority of this food we get from local businesses. Businesses, we don't wish to leave out in the wind.
We are able to do what we do in part because of a vast array of businesses that share food with us. We at Community Solidarity wish to support these businesses as much as we can. We believe that if a business supports its community that it's only right for the community to support that business.
As we say, when people spend money they'd prefer to do so at a place that’s taking care of their neighbors. We encourage all of our supporters to support the businesses that make what we do possible. These businesses and their employees are the backbone of what we do.
It is our goal to branch Community Solidarity into a conduit that helps folks find free/affordable housing, healthcare and a force that encourages real community based education.
These services are Human Rights and only by supporting these rights will we be creating a community that can overcome poverty, hunger and social oppression.
We believe that you can't make your life better if you spend all your time looking for how you’ll pay for the next meal, and the same is true if you spend all your time being sick, or without a home or without the tools of literature and mathematics.
Knowledge is power. Real power to change our communities, countries and world will come from the people who live within them. In this sense social services are some of the most important tools of change we can create.