By Cory James

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A New York City man turned his stress caused by the pandemic into purpose.

As CBS2’s Cory James reported Wednesday, a simple venture to raise money by baking bread turned into barbecue pop-ups that are now raising thousands of dollars.

On the streets of Astoria, a passion project is being cooked. The man behind it is Eli Goldman.

“It’s definitely something I’ve fallen in love with,” Goldman said.

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It’s a love that started last April. A video shows Goldman lowering homemade bread from his balcony to customers paying in donations for charities.

It is also this moment that inspired the 32-year-old to expand his cause by lighting up his smokers for barbecue pop-ups at venues across the city.

“Anything from from brisket, to St. Louis cut, pork spare ribs,” Goldman said.

Since doing that, the Astoria resident has raised about $60,000. The money goes to nearly a dozen organizations all over the city. One of those nonprofits is the Ali Forney Center.

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President and executive director Alexander Roque said the $3,000 raised and received will help feed the center’s 2,000 LGBTQ+ homeless youth.

“For our kids, it actually shows them that people care about them. That in spite of what their families believe, in spite of what they’ve been told, people want nothing but their success,” Roque said.

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Goldman said his success would not be possible if it were not for the help of businesses, places like Comfortland in Astoria, a café that partnered with him, offering up space and paying for the barbecued food, which then gets offered to the public to purchase. The proceeds are used to keep the program going.

“It’s definitely something on the heels of a pandemic is great to see. You want to see people who are selfless like that, who want to do things for others,” Comfortland employee Mathew Naser said.

Goldman is a man who is finding a way to give back and unlock inner peace through helping his community.

“The pandemic was absolutely making me extremely anxious. Now, I have something I can focus on which helps me out,” Goldman said.

Goldman has a pop-up event on Saturday in Astoria at Singlecut Brewery. Proceeds from that will go to Doctors Without Borders, among others.

For more information on the barbecue pop-ups, please click here.

Cory James