Astoria Mutual Aid Network: Neighbors Providing for One Another
When the Coronavirus pandemic hit New York City, officials couldn’t provide the resources necessary to help everyone. In response, citizens did it themselves. Astorians, along with many others, began to come together to form mutual aid societies, localized within each neighborhood. They knew that they were all in this together, and wanted to let their neighbors know that as well.
Astoria Mutual Aid Network
Whether a family needed food or cleaning supplies, or an elderly citizen needed an escort to a doctor’s appointment, or someone just needed an AC unit taken out of their window, the request could be put out to the Astoria Mutual Aid Network, where people nearby could see what needed to be done and do it. Mutual aid is based on the idea of solidarity, not charity. If we work together, everyone can be taken care of.
Mutual aid societies seek to give people the tools, skills, and knowledge they need to take care of themselves and others. They give them the means to organize others and help their neighbors in the face of all kinds of adversity and injustice. During these unprecedented times, everyday citizens worked together to keep the Astoria Food Pantry stocked, provide education on dealing with city services, check in on elderly or otherwise isolated neighbors, spread word of updates on COVID testing sites, and provide PPE for those in need. And with the holidays and winter up ahead, and a second impending wave of infections, the work is far from over.
The Astoria Mutual Aid Network is doing all it can, but more always needs to be done. And they need the resources to do it. With every volunteer the network grows, the outreach grows, the skill sets available grow, the financial and material donation base grows, and the impact grows. If you can’t donate money, you can donate time or effort. If you can’t donate time or effort, you can donate money to enable others who can.
Astoria Mutual Aid Network
Currently, the Astoria Food Pantry, longtime collaborator and provider of many of the food requests that Astoria Mutual Aid Network receives, is looking for a new space. The space will be used by many groups focused on neighborhood wellbeing. A good location has been found, but they’re asking for payment of a year up front in exchange for lower rent. Right now, everyone’s working towards raising that money. With a location secured, AFP, AMAN, and others will have greater means and ability to provide assistance to the community.
Astoria is a diverse, thriving neighborhood, full of people who both need and can offer assistance. The more we communicate, the more we can accomplish.
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