After several months of lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, many Chicagoans are still facing great financial stresses. Services ranging from the Chicago Public Schools’ meal program to the CTA have been shut down or closed, and many coronavirus relief funds and mutual aid resources are either empty or require updates. With many Chicago residents requiring further services, two tech professionals – a user experience designer and a software developer – built a new online resource…and it all started with a conversation over Slack.
Dawn Xiana Moon (who works as a UX designer and front-end developer) and Leah Neustadt (a software programmer) created ChicagoMutualAid.net, a peer-to-peer site where people can donate funds for other Chicago residents who require assistance. (Chicago residents who are in dire financial need can apply for up to $200 and receive the funds through PayPal, Venmo, CashApp and other services). The site connects donors and recipients randomly and directly, so the organizers do not touch donated funds in any way. Since its launch on June 6th, ChicagoMutualAid.net has already raised almost $1000 for Chicagoans who need emergency financial assistance.
With Dawn building the website and writing copy and Leah handling backend functions, the eventual goal for the site is developing it into an application with a more robust software framework. However, ChicagoMutualAid.net arrives at a very critical time as the city begins reopening. With high unemployment numbers and dwindling and reduced resources, many Chicago residents need help now more than ever. This is an excellent opportunity for Chicago residents to jumpstart recovery as Chicago enters Phase Three of its Coronavirus Reopening Program.
Ways that you can support ChicagoMutualAid.net include both making a direct donation to http://www.chicagomutualaid.net (donations and distributions are run on the honor system) as well as spreading the word via social media (you can even share this post via the sharing links on top). If you have questions, you can contact ChicagoMutualAid.net via email.
As Chicago comes out of both the pandemic and recent protests, many Chicago residents need further help. If charity begins at home, here is a very necessary – and needed – first step for Chicago-area city and suburban residents to kickstart economic and social recovery for those Chicago residents who are feeling especially stressed in the aftermath.
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