Delaney Nolan spent hours riding around New Orleans the day after Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana. He gave money to those who needed it to pay for supplies and for their hotel rooms.
Nolan Venmo gave people the money they needed when the cash ran out. She was also the site coordinator for Southern Solidarity in Louisiana and gave out meals to those who were stocking up on food before it went bad.
Nolan is one of the many faces of philanthropy who are helping to recover from the personal losses caused by the hurricane. Mutual aid networks like hers spring into action to supplement the more established relief services from federal and local governments, as well as larger charities.
These networks are made up of community members who pool their resources and give donations to one another. They aim to replace the traditional charity model where receiver and giver. These networks gained popularity as the COVID-19 pandemic hit and communities faced severe needs. They are now mobilizing for other disasters, such as Hurricane Ida.
Nolan stated that “Mutual assistance is the most effective aid right now.” It’s built on communication with many neighbors and existing relationships. This is based on personally knowing what people are in need.
Existing philanthropic organizations are also joining forces to support mutual aid groups. Jasmine Araujo (founder of Southern Solidarity) said that GlobalGiving called her days after Hurricane Irma and promised to send donations quickly.
She said that most of her funds come from individuals. “We don’t often get many grants from larger groups right away.”
GlobalGiving’s Hurricane Ida Relief Fund was launched over the weekend by Donna Callejon, who heads the disaster response efforts.
Callejon said, “The funds come in and we mobilize fast,” adding that GlobalGiving has been working in the region for years, so it has a list partners that have been vetted to be eligible for funds. “We’ve worked in Louisiana with many historically disenfranchised organizations.”
Another Gulf is Possible is a group of 11 artists and organizers based in Louisiana and Texas. They had prepared 30 kits of solar panels and batteries for storm preparations. They will distribute the items to community leaders in New Orleans, Grand Bayou and Grand Bois, which are dominated by Native Americans. Bryan Parras, one of the members of the group, stated that it has been difficult to reach people in certain areas due to power outages.