COOKFOX Day of Service 2024: Minneapolis and New York

Events, Studio News 06.17.2024
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On June 14, 2024, COOKFOX hosted one of our favorite traditions, our annual Day of Service. Both our Minneapolis and New York studios took part, with hands-on volunteer work taking place across six sites: Urban Roots MN, the Brooklyn Public Library, the Gowanus Canal Conservancy, GrowNYC, the Ali Forney Center, and the Carter Burden Network.


Volunteers created architecture gift bags for the Brooklyn Public Library.
Our Minneapolis studio volunteered at Urban Roots MN.

Begun in 2016, our Day of Service is an opportunity to reconnect with local communities and engage our studio’s environmental and social mission. This year, we also forged new connections by adding three sites to our growing Day of Service roster. At the Brooklyn Public Library, we assembled grab-and-go architecture activity kits to support a summer reading kick-off initiative, while at the Gowanus Canal Conservancy, we rolled up our sleeves and worked in the plant nursery by potting and picking mulberries. Our New York studio practices urban gardening on our own office’s rooftop terraces, so we relished the opportunity to share this ethos of care and mindful stewardship with our neighbors in Brooklyn. Meanwhile, working with Urban Roots MN, our Minneapolis studio spent the day doing invasive species removal, restoring native prairie, and foraging for strawberries at Pig’s Eye Park in St. Paul. By partnering with the Gowanus Canal Conservancy and Urban Roots MN, our studio continues to support grassroots organizations for whom volunteer time can make a big difference.

Volunteers assembled lunch bags at the Ali Forney Center's drop-in site.
GrowNYC operates a demonstration garden in McCarren Park.

This year with GrowNYC, a mainstay Day of Service partner, we tested our fine art skills through building and painting park benches at Brooklyn’s McCarren Park. At a drop-in site administered by the Ali Forney Center, an organization that provides housing services and programs for LGBTQ+ youth, we packed lunches and assembled hygiene kits. We also hosted a karaoke and art-making garden party at the Carter Burden Network’s Leonard Covello Older Adult Program on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Volunteers built benches at McCarren Park.
Volunteers dug their hands into the soil at the Gowanus Canal Conservancy.

Over the course of nine annual Days of Service, COOKFOX has developed impactful relationships with our partner organizations by returning to the same sites year after year and pursuing pro-bono projects beyond our one-day volunteer work. In collaboration with the Ali Forney Center, we renovated and refurbished the kitchen, dining, and administration areas at an emergency housing shelter in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, and we will soon complete a kitchen renovation at the Center’s 20-bed housing project in Astoria, Queens later this summer. Sites like these are the first places homeless and at-risk youth come to after experiencing housing disruptions. Our studio feels honored and grateful for the opportunity to provide welcoming spaces in support of a cause close to our hearts.

Our garden party at the Leonard Covello Older Adult Program featured karaoke and painting.
Our happy hour celebration took place after the Day of Service.

“Despite the studio being busy with project work and deadlines, we take the time to come together and do what we can to help our community,” says Associate Bailey Topper, a long-time member of COOKFOX’s service committee. “It seems like such a small thing, one day a year, but I think it has a huge impact on how the studio operates because it brings into focus what matters the most: Being kind to one another, helping those who need it, and being excellent caretakers of our planet.”