In this state of coronavirus emergency, grocery stores have empty shelves, schools have closed, and people are wondering what’s next. A new Facebook group called the Lane County Mutual Aid Network hopes to mitigate the crisis.
The open group popped up online on March 11, and within a few days it has amassed more than 3,000 members.
“It makes me so happy to see it. It’s really motivating and sort of restores my faith in humanity,” Leslie Selcer said. Selcer, a University of Oregon doctoral student started the local group.
Similar groups have formed in major cities like Seattle and Portland. The idea is to connect people in need with those who can help, Selcer said. Some have offered food, toilet paper, and childcare services.
“I’ve even see teenagers just offering themselves, like hey I’m able-bodied and I have a car, if you need me to go pick up your prescription because you’re immunocompromised or if you’re elderly and you’re afraid of going to the grocery store, like let me go do a run for you,” Selcer said. She adds the groups is also a place where people can share information or updates related to the coronavirus.
The network is meant to fill gaps the government has failed to address, Selcer said. The group is also advocating for greater support for low-income families and workers as the virus has left many in financial hardship.
Update: The Facebook group changed their name from Eugene/Springfield Mutual Aid Network to the Lane County Mutual Aid Network.
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