MANYC Newsletter

Fashion Forward: Repurposing Materials for First Responders

How a local fashion designer transformed their resources into a PPE task force.

This week, Mutual Aid NYC is pleased to share the story of local Brooklyn designer, Anthony Galante, who transformed his business into a massive COVID-19 relief effort. Anthony’s story is a great example of how people can tap into available resources to make vital contributions to mutual aid efforts.

New York-Presbyterian’s pediatric intensive care unit wearing face masks from Operation COVID-19 Garment Revival.

Back in April, Anthony Galante was “sitting on his couch, watching too much CNN and feeling really depressed,” when he realized he needed to do something to help. A fashion designer based in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, Anthony was inspired by designers like Christian Siriano, who were starting to pivot their efforts to create masks. With some time on his hands and a team of freelance sewers with whom he frequently collaborates, Anthony realized he could do the same. And with that, Operation COVID-19 Garment Revival was born.

Since fabric suppliers were closed, Anthony put out a call for donations for breathable cotton garments he could upcycle into face masks and gowns. Anthony launched a GoFundMe, which has raised over $27,000 to date, to fund a local coalition of out-of-work sewers to produce and donate over 13,000 pieces of non-medical PPE, like face masks, isolation gowns, and scrub caps. They supply hospitals, health care centers, and nursing homes in New York, Chicago, Texas and rural Virginia, as well as non-profits — like the Bronx chapter of the Neighborhood Association for Inter-Cultural Affairs — who work with our most vulnerable communities. Their fundraising goal is now $30,000.

Anthony spoke to the challenges of online fundraising at a time when so many are stretched thin. “We’re all trying to best navigate this new world,” Anthony said.

Staff members from the Bronx chapter of Neighborhood Association for Inter-Cultural Affairs (NAICA), which works to prevent homelessness, provide housing intervention, and other community services, wearing masks donated by Operation COVID-19 Garment Revival.

For Anthony, the most joyful part of this work has been partnering with local organizations like The Ali Forney CenterThe Okra Project, and the Hetrick-Martin Institute, all of which work to protect vulnerable LGBTQ communities. 

“One of the joys has been connecting with a diverse group of individuals and helping get them the resources they need as quickly as possible,” said Anthony.

ER frontliners at NYC Health and Hospitals/Harlem wearing face masks and scrubs donated by Operation COVID 19 Garment Revival.

Anthony plans to keep Operation COVID-19 Garment Revival going as long as there’s still a need for PPE due to the government’s inadequate COVID-19 relief efforts. “We’ll continue to donate to organizations  that serve our vulnerable communities, as long as we have the financial resources to press forward,” Anthony said. “Anything I can do to help a little bit.”

Check out Anthony’s GoFundMe to learn more.

A member of the NYC Health + Hospitals / Elmhurst’s Respiratory Therapy department wearing an Operation COVID-19 Garment Revival scrub cap.

This Week’s Calls to Action + Ways to Get Involved:

In solidarity,
Mutual Aid NYC

MANYC Newsletter

We share power, we do not hoard it

Our work at Mutual Aid NYC is guided by a set of principles. Today, we share them with you — and ask you to help us stay true to these values. 

Our responsibility as a community is to ensure that all people have what they need to thrive and we believe that all people have something to contribute. Mutual aid means long-term solidarity with our community, not a momentary act of charity.

We share power, we do not hoard it. We value all voices and are transparent and collaborative in how we relate to each other, make decisions, and operate.

We partner, we do not dominate. We amplify and adapt to the needs of communities. Our work is based on what the folks doing mutual aid need right now.

We build in public. We use open-source tools and methods when possible, and aim to de-weaponize and democratize technology through our work. We try to utilize and contribute to existing open source projects and open data resources.

We do not share information in ways that we know will harm. We will never share information with law enforcement, especially ICE or the NYPD. 

We are anti-racist. We actively work to undo systemic inequities in ourselves, existing structures, and the new structures we support.

We prioritize people over profit. We recognize the inherent worth of all human beings, no matter their class background or economic output.

We meet people where they are. We recognize that unequal access to information creates systemic barriers. We are committed to providing equal access to resources, tools, and information so that people of all languages, backgrounds, and abilities can make use of and contribute to our work.

We commit to being accountable for the impact of our actions while assuming good intent. We recognize that at times we will fall short and ask our community to support us by holding us accountable.

At Mutual Aid NYC, we acknowledge that mutual aid isn’t new. Marginalized communities have relied on mutual aid for centuries, and we seek to honor that legacy. In that spirit, next week’s newsletter will explore how communities of color have cultivated mutual aid practices throughout history.      

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Want to join the team at Mutual Aid NYC? We are looking for:

  • UX Designers / Front End Engineers / General IT support / Airtable Expertise
    • Please fill out this form to help us build our website and expand our technical capacity. 
  • Hotline Volunteers
    • To begin training to join our multilingual hotline, sign up using this form.
  • Translators
    • To translate resources for established organizations and mutual aid groups, sign up here.
  • Graphic Designers / Illustrators / Artists 
    • To join the visual media team, please email with your skills, interests, and availability.
  • Social Media Experts
    • To help share information about what mutual aid groups are doing around New York City, complete this form and select  “social media” as the answer to the question, “Do you have any of the following essential skills/expertise needed right now?”
  • Community Operations Support
    • Our diverse volunteer network needs folks who have experience building collaboration and communication systems, using tools like Slack, email listservs, Notion, and other common internal collaboration tools with an eye toward accessibility and inclusion. To get involved, email George.
  • Resource Librarians
    • To research and add new information to our library of resources available to communities most impacted by COVID-19, or train new volunteers in this task, email

Share your mutual aid stories

We want to share your stories in this newsletter through brief interviews with interested groups and individuals. We hope that by reading stories about on-the-ground work, community members will learn more about your resources and how to access them.

If you’re interested in being interviewed, please email us at with your phone number and availability. We’ll connect you with an interviewer within a week. We can provide confidentiality upon request.

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In solidarity,

Mutual Aid NYC (MANYC)

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