In this time of global pandemic, many are counting on governmental institutions that have been systematically hollowed out over the past 40+ years to come through in providing them their basic human needs: healthcare, food, housing, income etc. But often these institutions will (by design) continue to spectacularly fail to meet these basic needs for the vast majority of people—the poor and working class. This crisis of leadership has made abundantly clear that it is past time to become well acquainted with our neighbors and ourselves, as ultimately we are the ones who will provide the humanity, ingenuity and leadership necessary to meet our own needs. In this vain, the Shoestring presents a list of local resources that we hope will help fill in some of these yawning gaps. While making a truly comprehensive list is daunting, nay impossible, we strive to come as close as we can. This page will be a living document updated on a weekly basis to provide the most accurate and up to date information possible. We welcome any additions or corrections to this list—please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Covid-19 Resource Guide” with any updates. If you’re able, please strongly consider donating money, time or materials to the crucial community aid groups listed below. And as ever, elbow bumps and e-hugs to all our comrades fighting for a better world.
- MassLive’s list of local free food distribution locations: https://www.masslive.com/coronavirus/2020/04/coronavirus-response-food-distribution-program-launches-in-northampton-amidst-covid-19-crisis-organizers-plan-to-operate-for-9-to-12-months.html
- Contact Springfield No One Leaves if you suspect your landlord is doing something illegal, or otherwise trying to evict you or pressure you to leave http://www.springfieldnooneleaves.org/
- Freeze rent and mortgage payments in MA petition
- Pioneer Valley DSA (has a tenant organizing group), also has google form to connect tenants of the same landlord
- MA property map and land records: use to find out what other properties your landlord owns, if there are mortgages, etc
- Tenant Organizing Toolkit: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1KLNNqm76yNlhfcAE3vBVJdHIuR6R-ckzMUprtSAwWJY
- Join the WMass Rent Strike Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/900235823741360
- Contact the Pioneer Valley Worker’s Center frontline committee
- The DIY Masks of Western Mass Facebook group will connect citizens sewing masks to the industries which need them most: https://www.facebook.com/groups/DIYmasksofWmass
- Pioneer Valley Workers Center Hotline or email them to get connected to the Frontline Worker’s committee dedicated to helping organize those still working
- Sign the petition for Baystate workers to get hazard pay: https://www.change.org/p/hazard-pay-for-baystate-medical-center-employees
- Pioneer Valley Workers Center Hotline (bilingual) or email them to get connected to the Decarceration/Immigration committee
- Trans Asylum Seeker Network (email email@example.com)
- Now is a great time to write to incarcerated folks. If you don’t personally know anyone on the inside right now, here is a registry of prisoners who would like letters. NYC Anarchist Black Cross has a similar list of political prisoners, and Black and Pink has a pen pal program for LGBTQ+ prisoners. Here is a guide on writing to incarcerated folks for first-timers.
- The Trump admin is pushing the postal service to the point of collapse. Privatizing this essential service could be devastating to incarcerated people. Text USPS to 50409 to follow steps to send your congresspeople a note urging them to take action to save it.
- Decarcerate Western Mass is a coalition working to secure the release of incarcerated people during the pandemic and beyond. Join their project to support Western Mass attorneys in preparation of parole-related filings —email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up for a parole packet training or to request support with a parole packet.
Mutual Aid Networks
- Pioneer Valley Workers Center Hotline or email them to get connected to the Mutual Aid committee (google form to get involved as a volunteer. Distributions as it stands are Sunday afternoons at the Brightwood health clinic in Springfield and Tuesday late morning at the PVWC office)
- Northampton Survival Center has new drop-off points (regular location closed) which can be found on their website: https://www.northamptonsurvival.org/
- Amherst Survival Center updates and locations: https://amherstsurvival.org/covid19/
- Western Mass Community Aid is a newly created site dedicated to helping connect people to regional mutual aid https://www.wmacma.com
- Pioneer Valley Worker’s Center has a 413 Emergency Relief Fund for undocumented workers https://pvworkerscenter.org/
- Franklin County People’s Fund is distributing financial aid to the most vulnerable members of the community gofundme.com/f/fc-peoples-fund-covid19-mutual-aid-project
- One Fair Wage has a national relief fund for tipped and service workers out of a job: https://ofwemergencyfund.org/help
- Artists can apply for relief funds here: https://www.artistrelief.org/ or at dwellingsarts.com for low-income artists based in Western Mass
- Western MA mutual aid, harm reduction, political education, and organizing group led by stimulant and opioid using low-income, survival, or street-based sex workers https://www.gofundme.com/f/w-ma-street-worker-leader-stipends
- Support the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe in preserving their culture and land https://mashpeewampanoagtribe-nsn.gov/donations
- Donate to Movimiento Cosecha
- Feed the Frontlines Western Mass is a project of the Western Mass Area Labor Federation which partners with local restaurants to deliver free meals to front line workers https://feedthefrontlinewm.com/
- The COVID-19 Relief and Organizing Emergency Grant Program (ROEGP) provides up to $2,000 to give emergency relief to local individuals and families financially affected by layoffs, hours-cuts, or medical or educational expenses caused by the pandemic.
The Markham-Nathan Fund was created in 2009 to support grassroots Western Massachusetts groups in their fight for fundamental social change to eliminate economic disparity, racism, sexism, and xenophobia.
- Petition to Massachusetts Governor Baker, Speaker DeLeo, Senate President Spilka demanding a ban on evictions and foreclosures, cancelation of rent and mortgages, and guaranteed safe housing for all during the covid-19 crisis
- Petition supporting UMass Amherst graduate student demands
- Needle Exchange (Tapestry Health remains open at all locations – find your local exchange here: https://www.tapestryhealth.org/find-us/)
- Recovery Meetings (visit https://www.northamptonrecoverycenter.org/ for all listed meetings – free and online!)
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