Greater Bridgeport Mutual Aid, a network of more than 150 volunteers, has organized to provide free grocery delivery, direct people to resources and information through a telephone hotline, provide digital enrichment for students during remote learning, and do neighbor support check-ins.
The GBMA network serves residents in the Bridgeport, Chinatown, Armour Square, and Canaryville neighborhoods. Services are available in English, Spanish, Mandarin, and Cantonese.
“While everyone has been affected by the pandemic, it’s clear that those who were more vulnerable or had fewer safety nets before the pandemic are being disproportionately affected,” said coordinator Jianan Shi. “We are a group of neighbors who want to show support and love to our neighbors.”
Community members can request services on GBMA’s website or by calling or texting its hotline at (312) 818-1393. The hotline team counts 16 volunteer operators, who answer live calls and texts 12 hours a day, seven days a week.
Another volunteer team delivers groceries and pharmacy items to area seniors and others with reduced mobility. Recipients can get up to $50 worth of food at no cost if they have financial need; GBMA asks all others to reimburse the volunteer at the time of delivery. Volunteers sanitize all products prior to contactless delivery.
GBMA also offers neighbor-to-neighbor support for those dealing with loneliness or anxiety or anyone desiring a regular check-in call. The digital enrichment effort provides supplemental educational and artistic opportunities for children during the remote learning period.
In addition, GBMA offers small-scale financial assistance of $200 per request for those experiencing financial hardship that prevents them from meeting basic needs.
To volunteer or request aid, visit www.gbmachicago.org to fill out a sign-up form. To learn more or contact GBMA, visit its social media pages at www.facebook.com/GBMAChicago and www.twitter.com/GBMAChicago or email email@example.com. Donations of funds are welcome; to donate, email GBMA.