Community Care
& Engagement

Food pantries, civic participation, advocacy

We believe the Asian American community in New York City and other systematically disadvantaged communities must stand together in the struggle for racial, social and economic justice. Grass roots community engagement takes on many different forms. Advocating for change at every level of government is crucial. So is participation in the day-to-day life of our neighborhoods, especially when there are urgent community needs. Whether mobilizing tenants to advocate for affordable housing or volunteering to support a local food pantry, signing up new voters, or helping to reclaim public spaces for the community, AAFE believes in the value of participation and engagement to build a more equitable city.

Food Pantries: During the pandemic, food insecurity became a full-blown crisis in the neighborhoods AAFE serves. During this time, we launched three food pantries to provide fresh, culturally appropriate produce, meats and canned and packaged goods to residents in Chinatown, the Lower East Side and East Harlem, where the Asian American population is growing rapidly. The monthly pantries are powered by the AAFE Volunteer Program, including more than 100 dedicated New Yorkers committed to giving back to their communities. Food is sourced primarily from local small businesses. Community members must sign up for pantry distributions in advance. Currently, we are fully booked with a substantial waiting list. Please contact us for referrals to other food resources.

Stopping AAPI Hate: As hate crimes against the Asian American community increased in the past few years, AAFE responded by offering self defense and bystander training classes, a public outreach campaign to raise awareness about the issue and one-on-one assistance to help community members report hate crimes.

Community Events: AAFE collaborates with many different community organizations to host and support public events, providing new opportunities for engagement and community care. In partnership with Think!Chinatown, AAFE hosts the Chinatown Night Market, a celebration of culture and food in Forsyth Plaza. Throughout the year, we coordinate several community service events, including back to school giveaways in Manhattan and Queens, vision screenings, holiday toy giveaways and Thanksgiving turkey distributions.

Policy Advocacy/Coalition Building: AAFE participates with several citywide coalitions to advocate for policy reforms in key areas important in our communities, including affordable housing, immigrant rights and racial equity. We work to register voters, co-sponsor candidate forums and promote civic participation.

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    Office Locations

    Chinatown (View Map)
    111 Division St.

    Lower East Side (View Map)
    111 Norfolk St.

    Flushing (View Map)
    133-29 41st Avenue

    Jackson Heights (View Map)
    37-61 84th St.

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