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A groundswell of grassroots action emerged in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. At first, hidden beneath the surface, the community-led response grew rapidly in scope and scale; often forming spontaneously by individuals and groups who recognized the immediate needs of those around them.

It’s become such a widespread trend that the term “mutual aid” has increasingly become mainstream as local newspapers, CNN, and even Teen Vogue have published stories about it.

The glaring lack of leadership by some authorities put the burden of crisis response on ordinary people — and they’re continuing to rise to the challenge.

Grassroots organizers have formed thousands of mutual aid groups, makers are developing open-source medical equipment, restaurants are serving free meals to front-line medical workers, and much, much more. This is the People’s COVID-19 Response.

Throughout the year we’ve covered this wave of people-powered aid with great intensity. This included ramping up the production of Shareable’s The Response podcast about community-led disaster relief as well as publishing an extensive editorial series. Along the way, we’ve catalyzed more action by highlighting the best of what people are capable of accomplishing together.

As the daily case count is rising once again, now is the time to take stock of everything we’ve learned from dealing with the pandemic over the past year.

Today we are pleased to release our new anthology, “Lessons from the First Wave: Resilience in the Age of COVID-19.”

Topics include: 

  • Ways to share during the pandemic
  • Navigating multiple disasters during the pandemic
  • Community wealth building
  • The many ways libraries have stepped up to serve their communities (and how yours can too)
  • Fostering community connection to reduce loneliness
  • How to start a local mutual aid network (and a mutual aid fund too)
  • And much more!

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Download "Lessons from the First Wave: Resilience in the Age of COVID-19"

“Lessons from the First Wave: Resilience in the Age of COVID-19,” features 25 case studies, interviews, and how-to guides that showcase some of the most effective community-led responses to this global crisis.

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Tom Llewellyn


Tom Llewellyn | |

Tom Llewellyn is the interim executive director for Shareable, a nonprofit news + action hub promoting people-powered solutions for the common good. As part of his role at Shareable,

Things I share: Food, Stories, Time, Skills, Tools, Cars, Bikes, Smiles, Clothes, Music, Knowledge, Home, Land, Water, and Stone Soup!