Open Collective
Open Collective
2023 End of Year Report
Published on December 22, 2023 by Leah Rogers

Happy Solstice from Edgewater Mutual Aid Network! Thank you so much for donating and being a part of our network in 2023.

Our abolitionist mutual aid efforts attempt to address the multiple crises that those in our community suffer from, doing what the government cannot or will not. We’re distributing food, gardening, gathering, crafting, holding talking circles, and organizing as neighbors for a better future. Mutual aid isn’t charity—it’s a way of taking care of each other that recognizes that each of us has something to contribute.
A few of our ongoing activities
• Providing free N95 masks and rapid antigen tests to neighbors and procuring a donation of 21,000 masks that we’re distributing to other organizations and mutual aid groups. In 2023 we spent $1,400 on covid support and disability justice efforts
• Weekly distribution of free food and household supplies at the Edgewater Presbyterian Church every Saturday from 12pm-1:30pm or until food runs out. This year we spent over $4,200 to provide toilet paper and laundry detergent at every distribution. 
• Providing Narcan and fentanyl test strips at Saturday distributions when supplies are available
• Clothing pop-ups with FreeStyle Chicago to provide neighbors with free, sustainable clothing
• Resisting fascism in the neighborhood and working on community-driven alternatives to calling the cops
• Paying for hotel rooms for unhoused neighbors in extreme weather. We spent over $6,000 on houseless support this year in the form of hotel rooms, winter gear, tents, laundry, blankets, medicine, food, and hygiene products 
• Free skillshares on topics like how to make zines, sew bigger pockets in clothing, understanding gender identity, how to build DIY air filters and more
• Providing $3,200 for rent assistance for neighbors facing eviction and $760 for medical bill assistance
• Gardening at the Vedgewater Community Garden and sharing food we grow in our plots and the Edgewater Environmental Coalition’s Commons plots with neighbors at our weekly distribution
• Building community through Affinity Groups including the Disability Collective, the LGBTQ+ Support Group, and more
• Attending protests as for the end to the genocide and Palestinian liberation
• Virtual art nights every month
• Beach bonfires in the summer and game nights in the winter

Ways we’ve been helping asylum seekers
• Spending around $11,900 on our effort to support asylum seekers in our community
• Creating “Welcome to Chicago” guides to orient asylum seekers to the city
• Participating in a protest against the City’s and OEMC’s response to this crisis
• Collecting and delivering donations, including clothing, bedding, strollers, and luggage
• Buying supplies that don’t get donated enough, like luggage, new underwear, new hygiene products, and OTC medication
• Buying cell phones, SIM cards, CTA passes, winter coats, hats, gloves, and other essentials
• Cooking and covering the costs of meals for asylum seekers staying in police stations in the neighborhood
• Working with other neighborhood organizations to coordinate and pool our efforts

This year our community has faced the continued pandemic, the growing migrant crisis, and rising housing costs - all created and exacerbated by the failures of institutions, including our local and national government. Through these challenges we are proud of the community we built and are thankful of everyone who has joined us whether through donations or in person. We look forward to building community and solidarity with you in 2024. 

With love and solidarity, 
Edgewater Mutual Aid Network