The lead graphic from the McKinley Park COVID-19 Support Network flyer reaches out to neighbors in need of assistance.

Neighbors Activate McKinley Park COVID-19 Mutual Aid Network

Published April 14, 2020

A cadre of residents of the McKinley Park neighborhood of Chicago has banded together to create a community mutual aid network to help neighbors during the COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic. Formed and organized through online channels and video chat, the McKinley Park COVID-19 Support Network has just released outreach materials in an effort to connect needed aid to neighborhood residents, especially the most vulnerable.

 
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"We wanted to start this group because we know that many people in our neighborhood are suffering or may suffer in the future due to the COVID-19 pandemic," said McKinley Park resident Tovia Siegel, one of the founding volunteers for the group. "We are also seeing that economic and racial inequalities that far preceded this moment are only being magnified."

McKinley Park COVID support flyer English Spanish ChineseThe network's multi-lingual flyer supports the neighborhood's primary languages of English, Spanish and Chinese.The outreach flyers provide support for the neighborhood's primary languages of English, Spanish and Chinese, as do the channels the group has set up to receive requests for assistance. However, more volunteers who speak Mandarin and Cantonese are especially needed to help the effort, the materials noted.

Get Help Here

Residents in distress or who require aid can connect to the support network by calling or texting (312) 772-4806, sending email to mckinleypark.covid19@gmail.com, filling out the online request form at https://tinyurl.com/tbym33p, or connecting through the group's Facebook page.

Group volunteers monitor these channels and track requests. For assistance with things like pickup and delivery of food and medication, the network plans to work within its volunteer group to enable safe deliveries, including from local food pantries for residents who need assistance with meals and nutrition.

 
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For help that can't be provided directly, the network has compiled lists of resources toward which respondents can be directed, serving as a neighborhood clearninghouse for COVID-19 information and assistance during the pandemic.

Essential Internet

Since face-to-face meetings were not possible, the group of volunteers employed the Internet to brainstorm and plan. "We had to create ways to do all of this without ever meeting in person," Siegel said. "Luckily, technology has made it relatively easy for us to connect with one another."

 
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"A bigger challenge is figuring out how to reach neighbors who may need assistance, but don't use technology as much," Siegel said. To ensure full outreach, the group is distributing print flyers throughout the neighborhood.

"We've also thought about how to reach neighbors who don't speak English and those who may not be connected to or qualify for available resources because of their immigration status or other barriers," Siegel said.

McKinley Park COVID support flyer EnglishThe support network's English-language one sheet provides contact info and solicits volunteer involvement.Volunteers who wish to get involved in the effort can sign up online at https://tinyurl.com/un6s8gf or send email to mckinleypark.covid19@gmail.com.

"We are working to understand what skills and resources we have and how to share them among each other so that people can stay healthy and safe," Siegel said. So far, more than 20 local residents have become engaged in the network.

One Example of Citywide Efforts

Efforts like the McKinley Park COVID-19 Support Network are taking place throughout Chicago, Siegel said. "We have been in touch with other groups around the city to share ideas and best practices."

 
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"What we're doing is based on the idea that on a micro-level, in our neighborhood, we have a lot of the things we need to keep each other safe," she said. "That's why we're working together, as a group of McKinley Park residents who care about the well being of our neighbors."

Flyers for Distribution

The network's multi-lingual flyers used to reach out to the McKinley Park neighborhood are available for sharing and distribution by neighborhood residents and community organizations. Web-friendly and printable PDF versions of each flyer are available here:

McKinley Park COVID-19 Support Network flyer in English, Spanish and Chinese:
pngMcKinley-Park_COVID-support_flyer_English-Spanish-Chinese.png83.09 KB
pdfMcKinley-Park_COVID-support_flyer_English-Spanish-Chinese.pdf152.74 KB

McKinley Park COVID-19 Support Network flyer one-sheet in English:
pngMcKinley-Park_COVID-support_flyer_English.png60.14 KB
pdfMcKinley-Park_COVID-support_flyer_English.pdf452.52 KB

McKinley Park COVID-19 Support Network flyer one-sheet in Spanish:
pngMcKinley-Park_COVID-support_flyer_Spanish.png62.02 KB
pdfMcKinley-Park_COVID-support_flyer_Spanish.pdf454.77 KB


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