People and organizations across Wisconsin are stepping up to help their neighbors in any way they can. Below are some organizations you can get involved with, whether by donating time, money, or goods.
Mutual aid most simply is cooperative participation in which people take responsibility for each other. If you’ve ever given a friend a ride, helped someone with their homework or brought a sick friend food, you’ve taken part in Mutual Aid. Mutual aid is not charity. Where charity comes from the top down, usually from a donor or non-profit that selects a chosen few to receive help, mutual aid builds from the ground up and revolves around the tenet that everyone deserves aid and that by helping each other, we help ourselves.
Below is a link to mutual aid groups operating in Wisconsin. If there is not a group near you, here is some information to help you start your own:
Step 1. First identify your area.
Is it your apartment complex? Your neighborhood block? Start talking to people. See who is interested in participating. Spread the word! Post flyers, communicate with those in your vicinity (at a distance!).
Step 2. Solidify your “pod”.
Get the contact information of the group you are assembling. Start a group chat, a Facebook page, any medium that is accessible and makes it easy to stay in touch and updated will work. Make sure you have consent to share people’s information within the group and be mindful of people’s privacy by taking steps to ensure their digital safety. A guide to digital safety practices as well as COVID-19 precautions is included below. Try to keep your pod to a manageable size. If your pod gets too large, start a new pod.
Step 3. Start building relationships.
Now that you’ve got your group together, get to know the people in your pod! Who needs help and what do they need? Who can help and how? Google spreadsheets and group chats are a great way to facilitate this. Check Mutual Aid Hub for more ideas and to find mutual aid groups already operating in your area.
Step 4. Coordinate and take action.
Eventually designating neighborhood point people to help coordinate by block may be helpful. Reach out to other mutual aid groups and nearby pods so you can coordinate and share resources.
There’s no limit to the community action you can take. And mutual aid doesn’t have to always take the form of running an errand or physical labor. What shape this takes and how far it spreads is up to you. Continue to build. Reach out to local grassroots organizations and combine your efforts. There is no shortage of help needed and there doesn’t need to be a shortage of help provided. Included in the links below are templates and examples of what other groups are doing and their on-going advice. We are all in this together.
How to Replicate Mutual Aid
A Google doc on how to set up a neighborhood pod and the values of mutual aid. It includes examples, links and templates as well as info and links on digital security and its importance.
Neighborhood Pods How-to
Another Google doc on how to set up your neighborhood pod. Includes links to on-going projects, templates and conversation outlines and safety precautions for COVID-19.
CURRENT MUTUAL AID GROUPS IN WI
Food pantries all over the state are working hard to provide for families in need. Search below for food banks and organizations in your area.
MANY NEIGHBORS ARE ALSO COMING TOGETHER ON NEXTDOOR TO CONNECT AND TO HELP EACH OTHER.
It’s free to use and you can sign up on their website or download the phone app. Invite your neighbors, check in, share information, and ask for or offer help.
LOCAL STORES AND THEIR EMPLOYEES
|https://supportlocal.usatoday.com||Buy an e-gift card bundle for a group of Wisconsin businesses|
|https://www.wisn.com/article/support-small-businesses-shop-local/31901500#||Operation: Shop Local (Southeastern Wisconsin)|
(VIRTUALLY) TIP YOUR SERVERS
|Madison Tip Jar||A growing list of servers who lost their jobs, at least for now, because of the city shutdown on all non-essential businesses. You can give them a virtual tip.|
|Hunger Relief Fund of Wisconsin||The Hunger Relief Fund of Wisconsin is a coalition of over 20 Free & Local anti-hunger organizations throughout Southeastern Wisconsin.|
|United Way of Wisconsin||United Way of Wisconsin is dedicated to supporting and improving lives and creating lasting positive change across Wisconsin.|
|Local Volunteer Centers|