Middletown Mutual Aid Collective Guidebook

Contents

What is mutual aid?

Our values

How do we organize?

        Middletown Community Fridge

        Direct Cash Assistance

        Doing what we already do when living in community

Join our network and get connected

        Signal group chats

        Facebook group

        Weekly meetings

        Mutual Aid voicemail box

Resources

        Other mutual aid projects in Connecticut

        Non-profit resources

Mutual aid glossary

What is mutual aid?

Mutual aid is people helping people. We have all types of needs: housing, food, medical, emotional, social, and more. We can meet them ourselves.

Middletown Mutual Aid Collective

Mutual aid is collective coordination to meet each other’s needs, usually from an awareness that the systems we have in place are not going to meet them. Those systems, in fact, have often created the crisis, or are making things worse. . . . .[Mutual aid projects] directly meet people’s survival needs, and are based on a shared understanding that the conditions in which we are made to live are unjust.

—Dean Spade, Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During This Crisis (and the Next)

Not sure what some of the words in this guidebook mean? If a word that you’re not sure about is bold and underlined (like this: mutual aid), click on it and you’ll go to our Mutual aid glossary, where you can learn more about the words we sometimes use when talking about mutual aid.

Our Community Agreements are ways we strive to create and sustain a caring & respectful group culture in our meetings, Signal group chats, working groups, one-on-one direct messages, and all the other ways we come together. Read them here.

Our Values

We are a community. We can meet our own needs. This is mutual aid.

Somos una comunidad. Podemos obtener lo que necesitamos. Eso es la ayuda mutua.

We move together: This is us valuing trust and care as a community. We are not a non-profit or government agency.

Nos movemos juntos. Vamos a valorar, cuidar, y confiar en nuestra comunidad.

We are here to stay: We started organizing during the COVID-19 pandemic, but these needs did not begin with and will not end with the pandemic.

Nosotros estamos aquí para quedarnos. Aunque, empezamos a organizarnos durante la pandemia del coronavirus, nuestras necesidades no empezaron ni terminarán con esta pandemia.

We got us: everyone has something to give and something to gain.

Nos tenemos: todos tienen algo que dar y algo que ganar.

We are committed to building a future where needs are understood and respected, not stigmatized and shamed, where love and care are the foundations for empowerment and liberation.

Vamos a construir un futuro donde las necesidades se entienden y se respetan; donde el amor y cuidado son la fundación para empoderamiento y liberación.

While we come from different backgrounds, we share the intent to create a world where everyone has their basic needs met.

Mientras venimos de diferentes orígenes compartimos la intención de crear un mundo donde se satisfacen nuestras necesidades básicas.

We are here to empower the people and to stop letting companies become wealthier, especially during this pandemic.

Vamos a empoderar al pueblo y no dejar que las compañías ricas ganen más dinero durante esta pandemia.

If you are reading this, you are a part of the WE.

Si estás leyendo esto, eres parte del NOSOTROS.

How do we organize?

Middletown Mutual Aid Collective (MMAC) does work throughout the community by meeting each other’s needs as they come. We are a collective, which means we come together as a group and make decisions together to address what needs to be done in our community. Right now, our work is centered around two projects: the Middletown Community Fridge and Direct Cash Assistance.

Middletown Community Fridge

Sustenance, nourishment, health and wellness are human rights and necessities. When the structures in place fail to meet these fundamental needs, we the people must come together to combat food waste and rectify food insecurity.

The Middletown Community Fridge is a community-run refrigerator and pantry that makes free food and other items accessible 24/7 at 33 Ferry St, by the Ferry Street Community Garden in Middletown’s North End. The fridge gives us a space to take what we need and give what we can while getting to know each other and building solidarity.  

Before you visit the fridge, please make sure to read our food safety and COVID-19 safety guidelines:

Here are ways to get involved with the Community Fridge:

The Middletown Community Fridge is just one in a large network of free fridges starting across the country. If you are looking for resources to start a free fridge in your neighborhood, we began by looking at resources from In Our Hearts NYC.

Download these graphics here if you’d like to share them!

Direct Cash Assistance

Our cash distribution efforts include a grassroots crowd-funded pool of money distributed directly to folks in need on a first-come-first-served basis.

Request here: Middletown Mutual Aid: Direct Cash Assistance Request

Donate here: ioby Fundraiser Page

We can always use help to ensure we raise funds for our program and get cash relief out to everyone as efficiently as possible.

Doing what we already do when living in community

Download these graphics here if you’d like to share them.

If you have any of these skills, knowledge, or resources to freely share with neighbors in Middletown, you can be involved in mutual aid. You probably already have been when times got tough for loved ones or neighbors.

The Middletown Mutual Aid Collective seeks to make it easier for people to share these means of caring for one another.

Join our network and get connected

Signal group chats

Join our Signal group chats to organize with us, share ideas, and get updates!

Connect with us via email

Download Signal here:

Join the general Middletown Mutual Aid chat here.

Join the Community Fridge chat here.

Join our “Rapid Response Runners” driving team chat here. This chat is for people with access to a car who can respond if there is a need for a delivery. For instance, there might be food available at someone’s house that we need to drive to the Community Fridge, and if they don’t have a car it would be helpful to link them up with someone who does! This is a way to get involved based on your own availability when need is present.

Facebook group

The Middletown Mutual Aid Facebook group is a place where people can post about their needs, ways in which they can offer help to others, opportunities to get involved, and more.

Anyone can join! Join here and invite your friends.

Weekly meetings

We have weekly virtual meetings via Zoom, also joinable by phone!

Community Fridge Organizing: Wednesdays at 5 PM

https://wesleyan.zoom.us/j/98817035182

Meeting ID: 988 1703 5182

One tap mobile

+19294362866,,98817035182# US (New York)

+13017158592,,98817035182# US (Washington D.C)

Mutual Aid General Organizing: Thursdays at 5 PM

https://wesleyan.zoom.us/j/99973779027?pwd=c3BWa2tZRnRpY3FlK1BGMFdkRXV2dz09

Meeting ID: 999 7377 9027

Passcode: 112625

One tap mobile

+13017158592,,99973779027# US (Washington D.C)

+13126266799,,99973779027# US (Chicago)

Direct Cash Assistance Program: Fridays at 5 PM

https://us04web.zoom.us/j/75050801371?pwd=STVGSm5wRVM3QnFVSGxUeDViUVVMdz09

Mutual Aid Values, Priorities, and Ideology Call: Sundays at 3 PM

https://wesleyan.zoom.us/j/92025030671

Meeting ID: 920 2503 0671

One tap mobile

+13126266799,,92025030671# US (Chicago)

+19294362866,,92025030671# US (New York)

Mutual Aid voicemail box

Another way to get involved is by responding to voicemails from community members! We have a google voice account that people can call. When we receive calls we call back to answer questions, explain what MMAC is and does, and ask if people want to get involved! The MMAC general phone line (860-704-9559), anyone may call and leave a message there, or reach out to Ren at (646)648-1646 for more information!

Resources

Accountability Road Map

This road map is a resource to address instances of harm that happen in the collective. It includes paths to follow if you have experienced harm, need to be held accountable for harm, or were a bystander of harm.

Other mutual aid projects in Connecticut

Housing and tenant organizing

Cancel Rent CT

#CancelRentCT

cancelrentct@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/CancelRentCT/

Bail funds and prisoner support

Connecticut Bail Fund

http://www.ctbailfund.org/

+1 203 340 1116

info@ctbailfund.org

Free food

Food Not Bombs Middletown

Free hot meals on the sidewalk every Sunday at noon

605 Main St, Middletown CT

https://www.facebook.com/FNBMiddletown

General mutual aid

CT Mutual Aid

https://ctmutualaid.com/en/home

https://facebook.com/groups/ctmutualaid/

Hartford Mutual Aid

https://www.mutualaidhartford.com/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/134806727960421/

New Haven Mutual Aid

https://www.facebook.com/groups/639466263512268/

New London Mutual Aid

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdsNbrCcA2vBaJoSNo8-2_wgUWZZzEBuaBpopin7ZcY6uURDg/viewform

Waterbury Mutual Aid

https://www.facebook.com/groups/waterburymutualaid/

Non-profit resources

Housing

Fair Housing Authority

https://www.ctfairhousing.org/

infoactfairhousing.org

(860) 247-4400

CT Coordinated Access Network - Crisis Housing Support

Call 211, Select option 3, then option 1

https://uwc.211ct.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/AllCAN-brochure.pdf

Community Renewal Team

860-560-5600

555 Windsor St Hartford, CT 06120

Walter C. Jones Fund City of Middletown

(860) 638-4830

officeofequalopportunity@middletownct.gov

Unite CT: Statewide Rental Assistance

www.bit.ly/UniteCT

(844) 864-8328

Food

St Vincent de Paul Soup Kitchen

Hot meals served Monday through Saturday from 11 AM-1PM

617 Main St, Middletown CT

https://svdmiddletown.org/

Amazing Grace Food Pantry

Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 AM  to 4 PM.

16 Stack St, Middletown CT

https://svdmiddletown.org/food-pantry/

Streetfire Ministries

Free hot meals on the sidewalk Thursdays at 7pm and Sundays at 3pm

711 North Main st, Middletown CT

http://www.streetfireministries.org

Middlesex WIC

For: pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum people, infants and children until age 5, families receiving HUSKYA or SNAP.

8 Crescent St, Middletown CT

https://middlesexhealth.org/wic-program


Middletown Farmers Market

Runs every summer through fall. Date/location TBD.

https://www.middletownct.gov/1198/Middletown-Farmers-Market

End Hunger CT!

Helps with determining SNAP eligibility.

65 Hungerford St, Hartford CT

https://www.endhungerct.org/services/snap/

Childcare

ACES Early Headstart Middlesex

Early Headtstart is a school-readiness program

https://www.facebook.com/ehsandhspartnerships/

Middletown Early Childhood Network

Middletown, CT offers a variety of options for children and families to meet your childcare and/or preschool needs. This Facebook page is a great resource to start your learning.

https://www.facebook.com/middletownschoolreadiness/

Middletown Parents of Preschoolers

A place for parents, grandparents and other family caring for young children to connect and support each other

https://www.facebook.com/MtownPOP/

Education

Middletown Adult Education

398 Main St, Middletown CT

https://www.maect.org/

Domestic violence

New Horizons

A project of the Community Health Center Inc.

635 Main St Middletown, CT

https://www.newhorizonsdv.com/

Mutual aid glossary

(work in progress)

collective: a group of people who join together, sharing leadership and responsibility, and making decisions together as a group.

domination: unfair control over other people and what they can do.

empowerment: getting the power to act freely, deciding who we are and what we do on our own terms.

grassroots: coming from the work of lots of ordinary local people doing what they think needs to be done, instead of top-down control by the government, corporations, rich donors, or foundations.

liberation: freeing ourselves from all the forms of domination that work together to keep us down.

mutual aid: people working together as a community to take care of one another, making sure that everyone has free and direct access to what they need to survive and thrive, right now: quality food, drinkable water, safe and comfortable housing, clothing, medical care, education, money, childcare, and other services.

nonprofit: an organization, not part of the government, that has formal 501(c)(3) status with the IRS.

solidarity: backing each other up and building power together, because we know that although we have different experiences and face different problems, we’re all still connected by shared needs and goals.

stigmatize: to talk about something in an insulting way, implying that it’s something to be ashamed of.

survival needs: all the things people need to live and thrive: quality food, drinkable water, safe and comfortable housing, clothing, medical care, education, money, childcare, and other services.

unjust: unfair.


Accountability Road Map