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Bed Stuy Strong, Neighbours Helping Neighbours

Steffi, New York City

Tell us a little about yourself!

Hi, my name is Steffi. I was born and raised in a tiny village in the Black Forest, Germany and lived there until I graduated High School. I’ve always been curious and fascinated by diversity, languages and cultures and knew in 10th grade that I will travel, work, and live in a different part of the world one day. I graduated from University in Augsburg & Munich and came to New York for an internship at a Fortune 500 automotive company. What was supposed to be a stay of six months, turned into my now 6th year of living and working in the US. 

Today, I am an experiential producer and managing partner of a creative marketing agency & production haus based in Brooklyn, NY. 

Tell us about your #MakeWaves project.

As soon as the lockdown happened in Italy, and then later in New York City, all of my projects got postponed and/or cancelled. I couldn’t help but wonder how I can utilize my time and help people that are more in need than I was. I was still lucky enough to have a roof over my head and food to eat. So after one of these random and amazing zoom calls with strangers, I heard about this Slack channel of the community in my neighborhood. I joined and was struck by what I found the most amazing and inspiring communal efforts I have ever experienced.  

I am now one of many, many volunteers within the #BedStuyStrong community helping elderly people and/or families in need to shop and deliver groceries to their front doors. 

This community has grown from its 200 members to now over 2000+ within just a month. The core team has organized and established different channels and processes based on the needs and requests that we’re receiving from our neighbors and it grew in so much more than ‘just’ delivering groceries.

We’re supporting local businesses with donations & funds, rallying masks for hospitals and front line workers, sharing financial or mental health resources & offerings, as well as just an introduction channel where you meet your neighbors. There’s also a #cooking and #PictureOfYourPet channel that guarantees your daily dose of inspiration and joy.

Why is this important to you?

The world has never experienced a paralysis like this before. The severe consequences of Covid-19 have touched every single person on this planet in many different ways and forms. This is a time we all have to stand together. I strongly believe if we have the ability we should and must take care of our friends, family, and neighbors. We can create hope for each other, a sense of security and happiness in so many different ways by just showing a small act of kindness. When those grow, we lessen the collective feeling of trauma that now passes through our world.

What are you hoping to accomplish?

I am hoping that no-one feels they’re alone in this and have to go through this experience and struggle on their own. I am hoping by spreading kindness and thinking of different ways of helping and surprising people I can make a difference and put a smile on their face. Community care is something so powerful and magical that will put ‘humanity’ back front and center in our lives - the empathy and compassion that will connect us more than ever and show us what really matters in life.  

Your message to the community:

It’s ok to grieve. It’s ok to be sad. Some days are better than others and that’s ok, too. Just know, we will get through this. The silver lining of all this is that we have each other. And by slowing down, spending more time with ourselves, practicing patience, and finding new ways to connect & exchange, we turn our attention to what’s really important in our lives and learn to appreciate the little and most ordinary things that we all simply took for granted. 

Know that any acts of good, if it’s calling a friend, writing a letter to someone in your life or sending someone flowers - will make all the difference. 

Updates:


Say hi to Steffi and learn more about #BedStuyStrong.

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