Mutual Aid

SVDSA COVID Issues page:

What is Mutual Aid?

Mutual aid is a voluntary exchange of resources and services for mutual benefit for all involved. Through mutual aid projects, people take responsibility for caring for one another and changing political conditions. (Wikipedia)

Mutual Aid vs. Charity (source)

“I don’t believe in charity. I believe in solidarity. Charity is vertical. It goes from the top to the bottom. Solidarity is horizontal. It respects the other person. I have a lot to learn from other people” – Eduardo Galeano (Uruguayan journalist, writer and novelist)

  • An understanding that it is the system, not the people suffering under it, that creates poverty, crisis, and vulnerability
  • Governance/control by people who are most affected (can mean having a membership base of those most affected, or being formed in ways that ensure those providing the aid are from the same group as those giving the aid, or models that allow allies to participate but focus on accountability to those being served)
  • Transparency about how they work, any money they use or manage (many mutual aid projects are funded by individuals and not corporations, and are all volunteer run instead of having paid staff)
  • Open meetings and pathways for new people to join and participate
  • Political education within the organization to help those working in the project to expand their awareness of experiences that are not their own, to build solidarity, and to make the project supportive and welcoming to marginalized people
  • Humility and willingness to accept feedback about how to make the project more useful to the people it serves
  • Long-term commitment to provide the aid the project works on
  • Connection to and solidarity with other mutual aid projects and other transformative work
  • Commitment to dignity and self-determination of people in need or crisis
  • Consensus-based decision making rather than majority rule

How does it relate to SV DSA’s mission?

Capitalism has created conditions threatening many people’s safety, well-being, and access to basic resources. However, capitalism is not inevitable. In SVDSA, we are working towards a world where everyone’s basic shelter, food, and healthcare needs are met. Mutual Aid is one way we are working towards a world where workers have democratic control of their own workplaces, and where regular people can live in and democratically participate in society.

Our Work

Our Working Group Charter

South Bay Mutual Aid, our affiliated group:

How to Get Involved

We meet on Sundays at 11am, see our calendar to join a meeting!

Sign up to volunteer with SBMA: (delivery driving, aid coordination, distribution event volunteer, flyering/outreach, and other roles). Formulario de voluntariado español: Deseo ser Voluntario

Donate Here: (select mutual aid fund)

Monthly Mutual Aid Donation

Mutual Aid Resources


How to Replicate a Mutual Aid Network:

Santa Clara County: Resource map maintained by Santa Clara County for local meal and food resources.

San Jose Food not Bombs Serves (Every Sunday 2-4 PM at St. James Park)

Silicon Valley Law Foundation: FAQ and resource links regarding workers rights, eviction moratorium rights, and immigration resources during COVID-19.

Silicon Valley Strong: Virtual job fairs during the crisis, information for renters, and a list of meal services and other services available.

211 Bay Area: A general (not COVID-specific) list of resources available in Santa Clara County.

Common Humanity Collective (East Bay):

SF Mutual Aid (San Francisco):

Berkeley Mutual Aid Network (Berkeley):

Hayward Helping Hands (Hayward):

East Oakland Collective (East Oakland):