Mutual Aid Volunteers Offering To Help Neighbors

Apr 17, 2020, 9:22 PM | Updated: Sep 13, 2020, 1:28 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Since the COVID-19 pandemic first started impacting Utah communities, we have seen many of our neighbors suffering from great need.

Fortunately, there are others among us with a great need to help, and a handful of people banded together online to connect those groups for solutions.

It’s called the Salt Lake Valley COVID-19 Mutual Aid group.

The loose-knit online group connects people in need of support due to the COVID-19 outbreak to those willing to offer help and support.

“It’s really been a totally grassroots community-led effort,” said Shandra Benito, who moved from Seattle to Utah several years ago.

When the pandemic hit here she saw people in her former community connecting online to help each other with childcare, housing, shopping and other emergency needs.

That inspired her to float the idea on Facebook, and she got a tremendous reaction.

“A bunch of people responded, and, it was so beautiful,” she said.

Approximately 15 people organized their ideas online and quickly got the project moving with setting up Facebook groups, a Twitter account and a webpage.

“It’s not surprising to me that it would take off so well in Utah because I think that we live in a place where people really care about their neighbors,” said Benito.

Now more than 250 trained volunteers, like Jana Treasure, are helping.

“Mostly, I’ve just done grocery shopping and delivery for people that aren’t able to leave their houses because they are high risk,” she said.

Treasure volunteers to help with those deliveries two or three times a week while still working full-time.

Staying busy, she said, helps her manage the stress of these unusual times.

“So, if I can stay busy and be helpful at the same time, that’s helpful for me, and other people,” she said.

At their website, people can request help with errands, or, even a one-time emergency cash payment of $50.

Others can volunteer their time and errands, or do logistical work from home while self-isolating.

Generous online donations keep the mutual aid going.

Benito said the Salt Lake Valley COVID-19 Mutual Aid Group has received more than 1,700 requests for assistance so far, and one-third of those are in Spanish.

The mutual aid group has completed more than 1,000 of the requests, representing more than $80,000 in funds that have been redistributed through these connections, she said.

“I think so many of us feel kind of helpless in the face of this virus, and I think that part of how we deal with that is feeling like there something we can do,” said Benito. “Feeling like there’s something we can do for our neighbors.”

Volunteers are trained in safe sanitation practices and given cleaning supplies to use for themselves and on the groceries they are delivering.

“People are getting it,” said Benito.

“I think it just goes to show the generosity and care that our community has for one another.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Coronavirus: Stronger Together

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 09: A pharmacist prepares to administer  COVID-19 vaccine booster sho...
Jed Boal

University Health recommends getting omicron booster and flu shot now

The CDC approved the COVID-19 bivalent boosters that target the most recent omicron variants on September 1. Since then, tens of thousands of Utahns have rolled up their sleeves.
2 months ago
Only 50% of Utans are vaccinated and cases are surging because of the Omicron variant BA.5. FILE PH...
Jed Boal

BA.5 variant driving new surge of Utah COVID-19 cases

President Joe Biden’s positive Covid case Thursday was a sober reminder that Utah is not done fending off COVID-19 in many communities.
5 months ago
Utah COVID testing site. Getty images...
Cary J. Schwanitz, KSL TV

New mobile COVID-19 testing sites open in Utah

With the summer travel season underway and a steady stream of people still testing positive for COVID-19, Nomi Health opened several mobile testing sites across Utah.
6 months ago
The lawn of Timpanogos Regional Hospital was adorned with flags to honor the lives lost to COVID-19...
Ashley Moser, KSL TV

Hospital ceremony honors survivors, healthcare heroes as U.S. hits one million COVID-19 deaths

The lawn of Timpanogos Regional Hospital was adorned with flags to honor the lives lost to COVID-19, those who survived it, and the caregivers and healthcare workers who cared for the sick.
7 months ago
Debbie Worthen, KSL TV

Utah County couple gives Minky Couture blankets to medical team at Utah Valley Hospital

Russell Greene doesn't call himself a COVID-19 survivor, he calls himself a COVID-19 miracle. His family thanked medical workers for saving his life.
9 months ago
Salt Lake City's streets were deserted in the early days of the pandemic. (KSL TV)...
Alex Cabrero, KSL TV

A reporter looks back on two years of pandemic in Utah

Two years ago on March 11, 2020, the world changed for many Americans as COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic. Today, things are slowly getting back to normal. 
9 months ago

Sponsored Articles

notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Mutual Aid Volunteers Offering To Help Neighbors