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Winnipeg ‘caremongering’ groups offer resources and help during coronavirus crisis

People are using social media sites like Facebook to connect and offer resources to the community during the coronavirus crisis.
People are using social media sites like Facebook to connect and offer resources to the community during the coronavirus crisis. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)

With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, there’s been a lot of fearmongering, but what about ‘caremongering’?

The term is being used to describe groups of people who get together online, offering help and resources to other members of the community during these difficult times of self-isolation.

Kayla Chafe of the South Winnipeg Family Information Centre told 680 CJOB her organization started a popular Winnipeg caremongering group — Winnipeg Community Response to COVID-19 — on Facebook, which has seen a passionate response from hundreds of Winnipeggers.

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“We just jumped on this right away,” said Chafe. “We thought, ‘let’s do some compassion care, and let’s do some caremongering.’

“It’s quite lovely… I’m very grateful our Winnipeg community is jumping on board to help each other. It’s just wonderful.”

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Chafe said she’s seeing people sharing information on where to get care packages, offering up resources for mental health, educational tools for kids who are off school, and a lot more.

Coronavirus outbreak: Health official says ‘all Manitobans have a role to play’ in limiting virus spread
Coronavirus outbreak: Health official says ‘all Manitobans have a role to play’ in limiting virus spread

The group, she said, is organized by hashtags to help users offer — or ask for — whatever they need to help get through the crisis.

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“I think people want to care and share with one another, and I think that’s what’s really showing the most,” she said.

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“We’re all in this together and we’re all going to get through this together.”

Chafe’s, however, isn’t the only community-driven Winnipeg Facebook group offering a helping hand to local people in need.

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Omar Kinnarath
Omar Kinnarath. Sam Thompson / Global News

Mutual Aid Society (MAS) Winnipeg is another caremongering group — although it doesn’t use that term — with over a thousand local participants sharing resources.

Local activist Omar Kinnarath, one of the group’s creators, told 680 CJOB the response to MAS has been amazing so far.

“So many people are able to connect and get their needs looked after.”

“The community is looking out for each other, following social distancing protocol,” he said. “Going through the page to see a mother getting diapers, or someone who needs prescriptions picked up is amazing to see.”

Kinnarath said his group is rooted in the idea of a decentralized network of people relying on each other to fulfill basic needs. It’s something he hopes will continue to have an impact on the city long after the current coronavirus crisis is over.

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“We hope that MAS will carry on through the crisis and beyond to show people that a better world is possible, and we are currently creating it,” he said.