The DC Mutual Aid Network is organizing Ward by Ward to help those who are hit hardest by the economic consequences of the coronavirus. “For people who are living paycheck to paycheck and are living in Public Housing, the economic consequences of the COVID-19 epidemic start taking effect immediately,” wrote Maurice Cook, Executive Director of Serve Your City DC, which is part of the effort.
The city government has offered what it can for all of these issues, but this is not enough for everyone to be able to get by during this enormous crisis.
To solve this problem, local groups have created the DC Mutual Aid Network. It has already helped thousands of residents across the city. The basic model is that donations of goods are collected at hubs, monetary donations are used to purchase additional necessities, and then grassroots organizers who already have relationships in the community are making sure that these necessities are delivered to the neighbors who are in need.
The Ward 6 Mutual Aid Team is orchestrated by local community organizations including Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, Momma’s Safe Haven, the TraRon Center, Brotha’s Huddle and other hard working messengers.
Serve Your City ED Cook said that families are struggling with the pressure to manage the educational engagement of their children, often without the necessary hardware and internet access. “Schools are closed and our city’s youth are transitioning to distance learning, but the digital divide is holding back neighbors who cannot afford connectivity or devices,” Cook said.
These families must also find money for groceries, and then find what they need even as shelves empty across the city and navigate the unemployment system and the realities of reduced or no pay together with all of the new, constantly changing realities that all of us are confronting.
Many of these hard working neighbors cannot afford basic necessities, Cook said, and neighbors who are elderly or have compromised immune systems cannot leave home to get necessities.
Please do what you can to contribute and help your neighbors. “It’s all of us, or none of us,” Cook said.
Ways to Help:
- Donate Goods: Needed goods include food and cleaning supplies: fruit and vegetables, bread, toilet paper, sandwich meat, snacks, bottled water, frozen meats, potatoes, rice, hot dogs, buns, diapers, pull-ups, wipes, bleach, rubbing alcohol, gloves, plus items to keep kids busy at home 24/7 e.g. workbooks, art supplies, decks of cards.) –every item that you might have purchased for you and your family.
- Donate Used Devices – laptops and tablets that are in working order. Delete personal data, but if you can keep Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer installed this will help students.
- Drop Off Goods: at your local hub: Drop off items at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (545 Seventh St. SE) between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Additional collection/distribution sites in Southwest, Shaw, NOMA, Navy Yard, and Mount Vernon are coming soon. Please contact the Ward 6 Mutual Aid group via email (below) with any leads on potential sites in these neighborhoods.
- Donate Funds: Serve Your City is functioning at the fiduciary 501(c)3 tax deductible sponsor for this network. You can donate now via Paypal. Funds will be used to purchase food and other household necessities, Wi-Fi and devices. Please designate contributions as your choice of Mutual Aid – food/cleaning, or Mutual Aid – Wi-Fi/devices.
For more information, if you want to help, or if you know of someone who could use assistance, email firstname.lastname@example.orgWard6MutualAid@gmail.com or call 202-683-9962. Donate funds now by visiting https://www.serveyourcitydc.org/covid-19-emergency-response