We're in this together.
The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is a crisis that has exposed many surreal and fragile realities surrounding daily life. Many of us are home and avoiding crowds to slow the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) to protect our friends, families, neighbors, and ourselves.
The economic impact of this pandemic is exposing many structural problems and vulnerabilities, which leaves people worried about a great many things. Groceries, supplies, and cash to get by, shouldn't be among those worries.
It's ok to feel worried, but it's not ok to be without support.
It is becoming increasingly clear that while necessary, the social distancing measures advised by the medical community to slow the spread of the virus, are already having an economic impact on us all, hitting the most vulnerable the hardest. While each of us is doing all we can to stay safe, our financial obligations, unfortunately, do not disappear. Most can probably expect to find their lives interrupted with lost or decreased wages, no childcare, missing meals, and without other means of financial support.
Many people, particularly those in quarantine, the elderly, disabled, homeless, those currently out of work, and families, are feeling scared and alone. Some are without any help at all. To us, that is unacceptable. Isolation is hard enough on so many. Feeling alone and being without a way to secure food or direct cash aid in these times isn't something we can let happen to the people in our communities.
We are stronger when we support one another.
As hard as this pandemic is on everyone, we must remember that we still do have each other. You have us, and we have you. That's precisely why we created this autonomous effort- to let people know that we all in this together, we are here for you, and we're building a support system for us all.
Love in action (aka mutual aid) is how we support people. We show up. We lend a hand.
Here in Western Oregon, we have created this Coast to Cascades COVID 19 Mutual Aid group. We are putting our love and care in motion. We do this by effectively organizing to bring material support directly to people, beginning with the people living on the coast to the Cascades and beyond.
Who are we? We're your neighbors.
We are regular folks living in Oregon for many years who have been active in various mutual aid projects, and more importantly, we live in this world together and with you. Our love for people, the planet, and the broad, deep relationships with all those around us guide our actions.
We are grassroots volunteers making a collective effort together, not a for-profit or non-profit organization. With no hierarchal chains of "leaders," board members, or other models of business to answer to, we take no profit and have no overhead, which is excellent news!
It means every single dollar is going towards groceries, supplies, and the direct support of our communities.
You can join us.
We may be "isolating," but we are not alone.
We're raising funds to make sure all of us can make the safest, healthiest choices for our families, friends, and neighborhoods while maintaining our dignity and quality of life. This effort helps to offset the impacts this pandemic is having on communities while providing for one another.
This opportunity ensures that we have the resources to weather the pandemic and care for our communities at a time when it matters most.
What are we doing to help? It begins with this Coast to Cascades Survival Fund.
Here's how it works:
Immediately, we are providing grocery and supply deliveries, followed by cash support for those most affected, and for anyone who says they need a hand. We are also now providing emotional support and mental health checks, along with farm to table deliveries, and help for victims of domestic violence.
For grocery and cash aid, ee prioritize the people most impacted, for example, those in quarantine, the immunocompromised, elderly, disabled, POC, LGBT, single parents, rural people, undocumented, houseless, farmers, and all who feel the brunt of this pandemic.
...We are currently preparing to expand this effort to include more isolation reduction, pet care, unschooling efforts, homeschooling support, and support for smaller neighborhood mutual aid efforts.
Right now, we have gathered (and are still gathering!) volunteers and beginning grocery and supply deliveries in the following counties:
(Note that Multnomah, Columbia, Clackamas, Hood River, Deschutes, and Klamath Counties have COVID-19 resources in place. Our original focus is on people in counties that do not have access to other local efforts. However, folks in all counties that have attempted to get mutual aid support elsewhere and have not received it (for whatever reason), can sign up to volunteer to help expand these efforts, and can apply for mutual aid support with us.)
*Update! We are currently working on expanding Coast to Cascades to help Oregon's neighboring communities in California and Washington.
Where do the funds go?
- We are funding up to $50 (per request) for grocery/supply home deliveries for those that need it. At the time of this writing,10 million people are applying for unemployment benefits, and we expect this to grow enormously. As such, with your support, we expect our funding efforts and amounts will increase.
- We are giving direct cash support to people who need it. Prioritizing workers on the front lines of the pandemic, we are currently giving direct cast support to "essential" workers, precarious workers, those laid off by their employers with no sick pay, elderly, disabled, and many others who bear the brunt of the COVID-19. Our thoughts are simple; if a neighbor says they need cash support, then they need cash support.
- Driving expenses. Gas (and electric charging station charges) for the volunteers helping to get groceries and essential supply items to those who need it.
- With additional funds raised, we will fulfill cash support requests beyond $50. For example, a family may need $100 to keep the lights on or buy additional groceries, or a commune of people may need $200 or more to get medical supplies for those made to isolate at home while sick. Situations vary, we will prioritize based on need.
- Additional funding, beyond Coast to Cascades requirements, will begin rolling out for smaller mutual aid efforts like pods and hubs.
Join us and make a difference.
We began with a substantial contribution from one family. Now, due to the sheer number of people who need help during this crisis, we have set a new goal. We do not have a foolproof way of estimating the extent of the needs of our population offhand; however, we hope to continually exceed all goals to better provide for our large communities' every need! But know this, there's no amount too small. If we all gave only $5 to support our neighbors who need it most, it would make a significant impact. If you are in a position to help well beyond this, it could potentially save someone's life. Even if you only have $1 to spare comfortably, that can help provide medicine, groceries, or other resources. $10 allows volunteers that live around you bring support to you and your neighbor's front doors.
- You can also volunteer with us to bring food, medicine, supplies to people like you and me in your neighborhood. Know anyone who can volunteer? Send them our form: https://forms.gle/ZmDPZRRpQudch2yR6
- There are other ways to get involved too. Do you know someone that needs direct support or grocery delivery? Send our Coast to Cascades Request for Support Form to them. You cand find that here: https://forms.gle/Re9ddHTDjKPt1LQ96
As you know, this is an 'all hands on deck' type of pandemic, and no contribution is too small or large.
We are making history in real-time. More importantly, we're showing up, and staying put. We will remain a mutual support ground well beyond the duration of this social crisis.
We will remain a network people can count on in, long after the most substantial impacts from this coronavirus settle. While this certainly is not the first large scale event to affect our cities and towns, this is a unique opportunity to help create a mutual aid network that supports and protects us all (and never shutters!).
As we navigate the effects of this COVID-19 pandemic in the upcoming weeks and months, know we have one another. Join us to get tangible help and material resources where it is needed most.
Join us in relieving people during this difficult time. Let's help each other through this.
We are all interconnected, nobody is disposable, and we all need each other. Poet Ross Gay put it well: “If we live our lives with the knowledge of uncertainty, it can allow for a real tenderness and a real generosity.” In this time of great uncertainty, we come back to this often as we have seen a real generosity of spirit in our communities. Together, we can make a difference.
Contribute to this effort if you can do so without financial hardship. If you, your loved ones, or your neighbors need support, know that together, we are here to support them.