We are small, hard-working crew from the Strathcona neighbourhood who decided to rally together and offer our care and support to our community, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our grassroots collective has been operating for six weeks now. We've been quite busy bringing groceries and supplies to folks who are currently struggling financially, and in need of help. So far, we've completed 90 deliveries!
We are collecting donations to build-up our community fund, which has now been depleted after our initial fundraising efforts. The funds collected through this campaign will go directly towards our continued work in answering requests for help, and bringing groceries and other necessities to individuals and families in need.
We have felt so so grateful for the support we've received so far! We want to keep this community project going, but we're going to need more help in order to do that.
A bit more about what we've been doing:
Over the last six weeks, we have:
- raised $2,500 from our neighbours
- engaged a team of 25 dedicated volunteers
- started a Facebook group connected to our project that attracted nearly 120 members in a couple of days
- solicited over 100 items for a community pantry
- made 90 grocery deliveries
- brought 150 donated (and disinfected!) books to seniors at Strathcona Gardens who were missing the library bus
- engaged in friendly phone calls with people who are lonely and isolated
- decorated lunch bags for Keeping Six’s outreach effort.
With the mighty help of our volunteers, we've been out shopping for and delivering groceries and necessities to folks that do not feel safe to risk exposure to COVID-19. There are many reasons why people will need some extra help during a time such as this. Most of the people requesting groceries through our community fund are on social assistance and live with visible and invisible disabilities. Many folks requesting help are immunocompromised. We've decided that we will offer support indiscriminately, within our capacity, to anyone who makes a request.
We've collected donations from our community, both monetary donations and non-perishable foods -- with these donations, we've been able to cover the costs for just over three-quarters of the groceries and supplies that we've brought to our community. In addition, our volunteers make calls to neighbours who would simply appreciate someone to talk to, as many folks are feeling worried and isolated. The need for this kind of support will only grow over time, throughout the course of this pandemic.
The majority of requests for help we've received have come from individuals living in and around the Strathcona neighbourhood, but we will occasionally receive a request from other areas of the city -- we plan to offer our support to these individuals as well, while keeping in mind what limits we have, both in capacity and in funding. There are a great number of people who need help right now; we are trying our best to offer support to as many folks as we can.
Why is this project important?
Especially in times of crisis, often governmental or systemic structures of support are not enough. We need to find ways to care for each other. That’s where mutual-aid comes in -- mutual-aid is when we can rely on others for support, and can offer our support in return. Literally everyone needs support; we can't live without it.
Currently, all around the world, people are organizing mutual-aid groups. Though this is indeed a scary time, it’s also an inspiring moment where we can re-imagine how our communities take shape. Mutual-aid can help us shift towards collective care, where we all take responsibility for the well-being of those around us.
We would greatly appreciate any contribution, (big or small!) you're willing to make. We're finding a lot of enjoyment in developing this project, and we would be so glad to continue with this work.
Many thanks for reading!
Erin and Jennie (Coordinators)
Join our facebook community, https://www.facebook.com/groups/583108168949506/
or get in touch with us over email: [email redacted]
Image credit: ig @NOBONZO