LOWER VALLEY- Eleven months into a global pandemic, and our communities throughout the lower valley continue to struggle to make ends meet. During the early months of the pandemic Neighbor to Neighbor was introduced to the mutual aid network from a few of its members who saw first hand how many people were struggling to obtain basic necessities, paying bills, and providing food. In the attempt to assist with community needs, N2N connected with various mutual aid groups in search for the best practices to connect with the community. 

The Lower Valley Mutual Aid formed in the Holyoke/Springfield/Chicopee area to strengthen connections among neighbors and share talents and resources. Katie Talbot and Zulmalee Rivera, from Neighbor to Neighbor (N2N) have worked to support Neighborhood Point People who agree to be neighborhood leaders; to be the eyes and ears on the ground and to help the effort connect with as many people as possible. They have launched the Appleseed Time Project, where participants can offer their skills through time exchange. 

Every second and fourth Wednesday of the month a food distribution drive is hosted at 413 Main Street in Holyoke. Additionally, the partnership with the COVID-19 Massachusetts Tracing Collaborative, food can be delivered to folks who are quarantining after testing positive. The collaborative community effort has already assisted over 180 community members. In the midst of the pandemic the group continues to thrive – building strong neighborhood ties in Chicopee, Holyoke, and Springfield. 

Instructions to make donations via Indian Orchard Community Council (IOCC), the non-profit fiscal sponsor for the local N2N are below:

To donate on-line use this link. It brings you to the Indian Orchard donation page. Be sure to click on the options box and choose Lower Valley Mutual Aid. Or you can write a check to IOCC (Indian Orchard Community Council).  The Memo line should say Lower Valley Mutual Aid. Mail checks to Indian Orchard Community Council, PO Box 51593,  Indian Orchard, MA. 01151

Every donation small and large is welcome.  Thank you for your generosity to our neighbors! 

Lower Valley Mutual Aid formed in the Holyoke/ Springfield area with the support of Neighbor to Neighbor to strengthen connections among neighbors & share talents & resources. In addition, they established the Lower Valley Mutual Aid Fund. Read more & find out how you can contribute here.