At first, the pair were using their own money to buy supplies for the kits. Wilson put out a call on her Instagram, for volunteers to help distribute the kits. “It got really popular,” Wilson says. “I realized that a lot of people were in the same position—they really wanted to protest, but for some reason, they couldn’t go.” Shortly thereafter, the official @CityKits account was born.
The account debuted on Instagram with a protest image that Wilson took overlaid with a smiley face plastic bag graphic and design by Diego Herrera. The post has been shared widely, resulting in a boom of donations, volunteers, and support. “Emails, DMS texts have been absolutely out of control, but we’ve got a team of friends, who are helping us manage it,” Wilson says. Brian and Jess Procell, the owners of the Delancey St. vintage emporium Procell, quickly stepped up and donated their empty storefront to the City Kits organizers to collect goods, pack kits, and run distribution. Procell also set up an email for City Kits to manage requests. The artist Snoeman also donated colorful posters to be distributed alongside the kits.
For as long as protests continue in New York, City Kits plans to be there to support the demonstrators with essential items. Wilson admits she is still figuring out how City Kits can grow and change with the movement. “I’ve been thinking about this a lot. We were not expecting this to take off so quickly or at all,” she says. Even when the protests end, Wilson says that she still hopes she can use this platform and resources to continue to give back in a meaningful way. “I would love to continue this sort of work,” she says. “It makes my heart really full to know that I’m making something that is helping out people in my community.”