The coronavirus pandemic has exposed just how fragile some of our institutions are. How have you and your neighbors or community networks filled in the gaps to help each other?
We saw how quickly challenges came with the first lockdowns last spring. Furloughed and laid-off workers didn't know how they would pay rent and buy groceries, and working parents had to figure out what to do with their young children while schools and daycares were closed.
Lack of government and employer support made these challenges harder in many cases: Small business owners dependent on the chaotic rollout of PPP loans, state governments overwhelmed by unemployment claims, parents on their own juggling work and childcare.
And yet, people have found ways to step up and help each other out — creating small mutual aid networks because someone, anyone needed to do it.
Maybe you began with an online post in your neighborhood group, an offer to run errands for vulnerable neighbors or a callout to stock a public fridge with free food for anyone who needs it. Maybe you know someone who's part of a collective trying to cover childcare for each other. Or you're someone living in an area without broadband internet access who has found an alternative to video calls for you and your neighbors.
We want to talk to people who have found ways to care for and aid not only their friends and family, but also strangers — at a time when so many of us needed help the most. If your mutual aid effort is still going, how did you manage to keep it going? If it fizzled out, what was needed to help it succeed? And if you've been involved with mutual aid efforts since before the pandemic, what have you learned?
We want to hear your stories for a future episode of It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders. A producer may reach out to you to follow up on your response.
We will not use your submission in our story until we have communicated with you and obtained your consent to use the details that will be published.
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