Grassroots organization connects volunteers with neighbors in need

GoFundMe donations go to bill assistance program; group connected with other aid networks

Some+residents+on+the+Palouse+wanted+to+help+their+neighbors+by+initiating+an+organization+that+delivers+groceries+to+those+in+need.

LAUREN PETTIT

Some residents on the Palouse wanted to help their neighbors by initiating an organization that delivers groceries to those in need.

EMMA LEDBETTER, Evergreen reporter

About 70 Pullman and Moscow locals are volunteering to deliver groceries to their neighbors in need through a grassroots organization called Palouse COVID-19 Mutual Aid.

Delaney Piper, the organizer behind the group and a history masters student at WSU, said volunteers primarily focus on grocery deliveries. However, they also facilitated clothing deliveries, connected young mothers with community resources, and helped elderly people move homes. 

“I have been blown away by how generous volunteers have been,” Piper said.

Palouse COVID-19 Mutual Aid also recently started to provide grocery bill assistance, Piper said. Most of the funding comes from a GoFundMe page Piper set up, she said, but the organization also receives financial support from groups like the Moscow Interfaith Association. 

Laura Hannon, University of Idaho graduate, said she got involved as a volunteer over spring break when her travel plans were canceled due to COVID-19. 

“I was in a really privileged position where no one in my household had a compromised immune system or was elderly,” she said. “I felt comfortable going out to grocery stores and delivering to families, so I signed up for that.”

Hannon said it was challenging to find everything on a family’s grocery list because many stores were out of products like paper towels.

Piper said volunteers made about 85 deliveries to local families so far.

Palouse COVID-19 Mutual Aid worked with organizations in the Palouse region and is connected with other mutual aid groups, including the Spokane Mutual Aid Network, Piper said. 

She said she was also able to connect an individual in Bellingham with their local mutual aid group for support during the pandemic.

“It’s really hard to ask for help in our culture,” Piper said. “I’ve been really touched with people who’ve been really gracious … I’ve gotten some really nice messages from people who were scared.”