The Need for Mutual Aid Organizations Continues to Grow

By Guest Contributor Madelyn Hoffman.

(No Surprise Here!)

After almost one year of lost jobs, lockdowns, social distancing, and facemasks here in New Jersey, it is clear that major economic problems pre-pandemic have mostly gotten worse in so many New Jersey towns and counties. Thankfully, people in many counties realized this need and came together with neighbors to form mutual aid organizations and to provide support for one another.

Said one mutual aid worker not too long ago, “We get many generous donations of food every week and drop food off for our families, but we know that the food won’t last them a week, let alone a couple of days.”

It seems that more and more such organizations are starting up -- the first organization described here Peace, Land, Bread was too young to be featured in last month’s WeekenderNJ publication, but is now going strong. Thanks to Matthew James Skolar for the organizational write-up and for the photographs below.

Mutual Aid Volunteers, in Jersey City - January 2021. (Photos/courtesy of Matthew James Skolar.)

Peace, Land, Bread, Jersey City, NJ

Located on the West Side of Jersey City, and created through the collaboration of Anakbayan, Malaya, and Migrante New Jersey, the Peace, Land, Bread food distribution program serves a couple dozen individuals in the Jersey City area. Many of the beneficiaries and volunteers come from the Filipino community in Jersey City. This community has been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic both in terms of the public health crisis and the economic impacts.

Our beneficiaries include senior citizens who have lost wages due to being unable to work during the pandemic, parents who have had hours cut at their workplaces, frontline wage earners who work as cafeteria staff in local hospitals, and so many other walks of life. Our volunteers come from various organizations dedicated to creating peace in the Philippines, fighting U.S. Imperialism, and empowering migrant workers in the United States. The mutual aid program doubly serves as a political and worker education program by promoting worker safety training and giving perspective on recent events both in the United States and the Philippines in a pamphlet published weekly.

While our operation is a smaller one right now, having been organized a couple months ago. We are seeking to grow, and so are in need of more delivery drivers. Interested individuals would be asked to dedicate time on Sunday afternoons for 2-3 hours to help volunteers complete distribution. The group can also use virtual support in maintaining social media, speaking with beneficiaries, and creating weekly pamphlets.

We collect donations from local Filipino owned restaurants and businesses as well as from generous donors to our Paypal or Venmo @anakbayan-nj.

People looking for assistance or to volunteer can reach out to Peace, Land & Bread on Instagram.


For information about other Mutual Aid organizations in Northern New Jersey, check out Madelyn Hoffman's article in WeekenderNJ from December 2020.

Madelyn Hoffman, a seasoned activist, was director of the Grass-Roots Environmental Organization and director of New Jersey Peace Action. She was Ralph Nader’s vice-presidential running mate in New Jersey in 1996. The following year she ran for New Jersey governor as a Green. She also ran as a Green for U.S. Senate in 2018, receiving 25,150 votes, and ran for the same seat again in 2020, receiving 38,288 votes. You can read more about Madelyn's achievements here.