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Salt Lake Valley Mutual Aid: Volunteering while social distancing

Posted at 9:39 PM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 23:39:24-04

SALT LAKE CITY – Several Salt Lake area residents are using their time while social distancing to mobilize aid for those in need.

“That’s the beautiful thing about it,” said Shandra Benito. “We are doing this from our homes on Facebook.”

Armed with plenty of time, Benito and others created an online group called Salt Lake Valley COVID-19 Mutual Aid.

It allows people who can’t get supplies on their own to request help. It also creates a venue for those who have the resources to donate items and money or volunteer their time.

“People can request groceries, medical supplies, medicine and sanitary supplies or emergency cash,” said Benito, one of the organizers of the group. “People can say, I live in this neighborhood. I have a car. This is the time I am available and what I can do.”

Anyone who delivers items is given sanitation supplies and instructions on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to stay safe.

More than 140 people have already signed up to volunteer. For Benito, this type of outreach helps her come to terms with the uncertainty of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“One of the best ways to deal with anxiety and fear is to give to other people and love other people,” Benito said. “We can support each other. We can get through this. We can flatten the curve.”

She also believes Utahns have an inherent desire to help their neighbors.

“Salt Lake City is a great place to be right now for this because we have a culture here of helping our neighbor. We have a culture here of being prepared. We have a culture of not panicking. We have a culture of helping people out,” Benito said. “We are going to get through this. The one thing I keep saying is the only way through this is together.”

Applications to volunteer or request help can be found here: Salt Lake Valley COVID-19 Request Support Form

The group also hopes to raise money to help those struggling to make rent payments. Donations are accepted here: COVID-19 Mutual Aid Fund SLC