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Caremongering: a word that didn’t exist in our shared vocabulary just a week ago, is now a global movement helping to connect neighbours and communities around the world in an intentional push against the daily grind of scaremongering we are facing about COVID-19 in our local communities (note: this is not about minimizing the legitimate fear and precautions we need and are practicing in our communities to #flattenthecurve). Started as a mutual aid online FB group in Toronto, the Caremongering movement now has groups in countries all over the world connecting neighbours with neighbours.  

In Grey-Bruce, we launched our own Caremongering Facebook group last week called Care-Mongering GB: Grey-Bruce Community Response to COVID-19 (which now has almost 1300 members). It is a grassroots mutual aid online space created to help us connect us together so we can link our collective resources with community needs. Our group description, which is modeled from the Caremongering Kitchener-Waterloo and Toronto groups, goes like this:
 
“A group for sharing and organizing community resources in response to COVID-19. The goal of this group is to organize the local community on the grassroots level to ensure vulnerable community members have access to food, housing, healthcare, and other necessities. It is also for the redistribution of resources in the case that stockpiling prevents people from accessing basics. You can also post requests for aid/support here. Please share any opportunities/events that may be helpful to support community members!”
 
In a nutshell? we want to be there for each other. We want to support each other’s basic needs. We want to build and support a flourishing and intentional community. We want to bring joy and grounding to the disconnection and panic many of us are now feeling. This online space can help us reach out to each other for help with errands, to call each other when we are lonely, to share resources with people who need them, and to connect in with formal volunteer opportunities or local organizations to donate funds. 

As we build out this group we are also deeply aware that for many, this feeling of vulnerability and isolation is not new - whether it be from the impact of poverty, chronic health vulnerabilities, mental and physical disabilities, mobility issues, as well as those isolated and discriminated against in our communities there has always been (and will continue to be) a need to create mutual aid networks, build strong, and organized communities, meet our neighbours, and create resource and care networks to support the formal structures that work so hard in our communities to meet these needs. 

So, how do we do this? In the face of not being able to meet and build relationships in person, we see this Caremongering network as the intersection of all of our networks - there are only so many degrees of separation that keep us disconnected. Come join us, and bring your friends! Together we can complement the hard work of our local organizations by connecting and supporting each other across this beautiful community of ours. 

In community, 
Natalie Kivell 

image: with thanks to the person who set this up in their neighbourhood, and to the person who captured this Caremongering!


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