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Chicago Mutual Aid Network Connects Those In Need With Helpers Across The City

"Just figure out what you have to give and how you can safely give and get on it," one organizer of the fund said. "This is an emergency.”

Chicagoans are being asked to help others from home.
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CHICAGO — A network to help Chicagoans struggling during the Coronavirus outbreak has raised over $21,000 for those out of work or in need of help.

Kelly Hayes and Delia Galindo launched the Chicago COVID-19 Hardship and Help mutual aid network Sunday.

Chicagoans in need of financial assistance during the pandemic can share their story and ask for whatever financial help they need using this Google form

Once that request for help is posted, other Chicagoans who can afford to help out can use this Google sheet to find folks in need and donate money.

After someone receives a donation, the Chicagoan who asked for help is asked to fill out another Google form to update everyone they got the help they needed. 

Stephanie, who did not want to share her last name, asked the network for help because the dog walking and pet sitting business she and her husband run is facing “financial hardships” due to the pandemic.

“All of our clients have canceled sittings for the foreseeable future, and our walks are 90 percent cancelled,” Stephanie wrote, in her call to help from the network.

The couple plans to move to a less expensive apartment in May, but due to their clients canceling they are earning only a fraction of their rent. The couple is asking for $2,000 in aid.

“Never mind our other bills and financial obligations. We are pretty terrified, and not sure what to expect in the near future,” she said.

As of Wednesday, people had donated $555 to Stephanie.

Cassandra Eager, another person seeking aid, said she lost her job due to the dine-in ban. She asked for $750 to cover her rent and groceries, which the network was able to provide.

“I hate asking for help when so many of us need it in this time of scarcity and anxiety but I have no choice. Thank You,” Eager wrote.

Hayes and Galindo are not facilitating the fulfillment of any of these aid requests or vetting them, but they felt it was important to help connect people who are struggling with people who have resources.

Mutual aid is something everyday people can do to make their lives more survivable, in moments of both global and personal crisis, Hayes said.

“Efforts are about to become more visible around the city and there will also be remote ways to help. Just figure out what you have to give and how you can safely give and get on it. This is an emergency,” Hayes said. “I feel really good about [Chicago COVID-19 Hardship and Help], but there’s no time to really process feeling good right now. There’s too much to do.”

To get involved, click here.

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.

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