Local communities assembling mutual aid groups to help residents in need

Local communities assembling mutual aid groups to help residents in need

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Hundreds of volunteers are coming together through “mutual aid groups” in Massachusetts to help everyone affected by the COVID-19 mandates.

They’re breaking neighborhoods up into different pods and working to get each resident the help they need. The hundreds of volunteers are leaving letters on the doors of homes, urging anyone who needs anything to reach out.

“Cambridge has a lot of folks with a lot of resources and a lot of wealth and also a lot of folks who are working-class families and a lot of immigrants who don’t have the same resources,” said Kit Cali, the neighborhood point person coordinator. “And we’re hoping to kind of intermesh that in a way.”

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Cambridge Mutual Aid was created just last week following the steps of places like Medford, Somerville and Jamaica Plain. There, neighborhoods are grouped into pods of about 30 to 60 people, connecting those who need help to those who can give help.

“One of the biggest challenges with dealing with this crisis is that we need to isolate ourselves to protect everyone, but also a lot of people are vulnerable and need assistance getting resources,” Cali said.

They’re sending out letters asking neighbors to contact pod leaders via telephone, WhatsApp and email so that they can connect one another with resources during this time of crisis.

“We’ve gotten a lot requests for money to help people pay rent, to pay utilities, to buy food, to have food delivered, people who are frantic to find childcare,” Cali said.

The mutual aid groups help with things like the following:

  • Conversation/Companionship
  • Medical Advice
  • Mental Health counseling
  • Groceries
  • Pet Care
  • Social Service guidance

On their website you can find a volunteer signup sheet as well as a sheet for people to list their own needs – plus links and information to non-profit and government resources.

Right now Cambridge Mutual Aid has over 200 volunteers and they’re working with the mission of solidarity not charity.

“Solidarity is about saying that we are equal your struggle is my struggle and that we all owe it to each other to make sure everybody is safe and housed and healthy,” Cali said.

To see where other mutual aid groups throughout Massachusetts are located, click here.