current authorThe Rochester Mutual Aid Networkoriginal authorBeth Helmstetter

Rebuilding Lives organization

The Rochester Mutual Aid Network

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The Rochester Mutual Aid Network

The Rochester Mutual Aid Network began as a crisis response to the COVID-19 pandemic. When the pandemic hit, and the quarantine orders began, they hit a city that was already in crisis; poverty, homelessness, gentrification, and layoffs had already been a feature of life in Rochester for years. The COVID-19 crisis and the turmoil it would bring would only exacerbate the foundational problems we were facing as a city.

Drawing on the long tradition of mutual aid, we started the Network to help our community sustain itself. Our task was simple in concept: connect those in need of aid with those who can offer it. Our community is vast and diverse, and through organizing we believe we can not only sustain our community through this pandemic, but grow a Network that will help our community thrive after this crisis is behind us. The Network is run democratically and transparently, composed exclusively of volunteers working together to create something resilient that will strengthen our community.