Mutual Aid is An Act of Love
Loop’s take on the intersectional impacts of the pandemic & ways to support Toronto organizations that are doing the work to tackle them.
It’s safe to say that the pandemic has impacted all of our lives profoundly. Whether it be adapting to working from home or losing work, grieving and worrying about the safety of our loved ones, childcare, or financial instability, we have all faced a unique set of challenges this past year. As plans for the future beyond the pandemic become clearer and closer, many of us have been able to adapt and shift the way we live our lives to alleviate our challenges temporarily. There is great privilege in that.
There are degrees of instability and precarity which have disproportionately and permanently affected those of us in marginalized groups, densely populated areas, essential workers, our neighbours in tents, folks living with mental, cognitive or physical disabilities, members of the LGBTQ2S+ community, and many others as well. It is not a coincidence that racially and ethnically marginalized people are overwhelmingly essential workers. This has lead to health inequity – putting racialized members of our community at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and impacting the rate of ease at which they can access health services.
Mutual aid is a method of resource sharing and solidarity-based support in our communities that has ultimately been more effective than government support in many cases. Although the responsibility to dismantle and reform the systems that have led to the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 should not be on our shoulders, redistribution of wealth, land and power, allow us to take individual and collective action. Below are seven Toronto organizations that are doing the necessary work to support these communities and causes, and we can all support them through the pandemic and beyond.
Mutual aid is ultimately a radical act of solidarity and support that should become a common part of our lives. If you find yourself in a position of wealth or class privilege, consider redistributing your earnings to the following organizations, or be on the lookout to donate to individuals in your communities. If you cannot contribute in a monetary, help, spread the word to those who can. If you find yourself seeking support, the following organizations are great places to begin to guide your search.
We stand in solidarity with…
FoodShare Toronto delivers fresh produce across the city in support of folks facing heightened food insecurity. By either donating directly or purchasing the Good Food Box, it helps FoodShare to support Toronto’s most nutritionally vulnerable through a diversity of programs and initiatives.
Migrant Rights Network
Migrant Rights Network is combatting racism and fighting for migrant justice by providing migrant workers with support and advocacy. Through petition signing, donating, Migrant Rights Network strives to build global alliances for migrant justice.
Encampment Support Network
The Encampment Support Network (ESN) is an ad-hoc, volunteer-run network supporting people living in encampments in 6 locations throughout Toronto. Volunteers visit encampments to deliver supplies such as water, tents, sleeping bags that can be donated directly to them or purchased from donations. ESN also advocates for better living conditions in encampments and long term permanent housing.
The 519 is an organization that provides services to folks in the LGBTQ2S community. From counselling services and queer parenting resources to coming out groups, trans programming, and senior’s support, The 519 dedicatedly continued to provide as many services as they were able to over the course of the pandemic.
Gender-based violence has increased in the last year as a result of pandemic isolation. Nellie’s mission is to operate programs and services for women and children who have and are experiencing oppressions such as violence, poverty and homelessness.
Community Fridges Toronto
Community Fridges Toronto operates under a “take what you need, leave what you can” philosophy, no questions asked. Donations of fresh produce, pantry items, personal care items and PPE are welcome at various community fridges across the city.
Lumenus is an organization that offers a broad range of high quality mental health, developmental, autism and early years intervention services to children, youth, families, and individuals across Toronto.