WICKER PARK — The Wicker Park Bucktown Mutual Aid effort is in need of more volunteers, supplies and donations as winter approaches.
Formed at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, the organization works with other mutual aids on the Northwest Side to facilitate weekly food deliveries to families in need. The group also collects and distributes baby formula, diapers and other supplies.
“Even though so much feels out of control, I know at least I’m making these connections with my neighbors,” said Pauline Lacson, Logan Square resident and volunteer. “Mutual aid is … is a way for me to get involved directly, without waiting for a channel of charity to help out.”
The mutual aid motto is “solidarity, not charity,” said Kayla McCarthy, Wicker Park resident and volunteer.
“There’s no strict delineation between people who give and receive aid,” she said. “There are some really cool examples of people who request aid, then in doing so extend their help to others.”
In need of assistance? Fill out this form.
Ways you can help:
Volunteers can help in variety of ways. Those with a social work, medical or legal background are helpful, as are those with web skills.
There’s a weekly need for delivery drivers or cyclists who can assist with distributing food boxes from Farmers to Families. The USDA program supplied several Chicago mutual aids, including Wicker Park Bucktown, with 1,100 boxes weekly throughout October.
Independent of Farmers to Families, volunteers fulfill grocery requests.
Volunteers also make “wellness calls” to neighbors, offer child care, translate and make face masks.
Sign up to volunteer here.
Wicker Park Bucktown Mutual Aid collects and distributes donations from its Logan Square warehouse, 2828 N. Pulaski Road, Gate 218.
Intake hours are 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 3:30-5:30 p.m. Wednesday, 2-5 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.
Examples of items needed for donation include:
- Winter clothes
- Cleaning supplies
- Hand sanitizer
- Hygiene supplies
- Pantry staples
- Diapers and baby clothes (sizes 4 and 5 go fast)
Those who cannot help by donating their time or supplies can pay it forward with their pocketbooks. All monetary donations go directly toward a mutual aid request, McCarthy said.
For example, if a volunteer is out grocery shopping and receives an aid request, they can purchase the needed items and receive reimbursement. Or if a family requests a specific item, such as diapers, and the item is not available at the warehouse, a donation can help meet that need immediately.
“As long as we have some cash in the bank, we can reimburse,” McCarthy said.
Make a donation here. You can donate toward the organization generally or you can put your money toward a specific goal.
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