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'We are a community who has each other’s back': Albuquerque organization helps New Mexicans in need

 An Albuquerque organization is working to help New Mexicans through these trying times.

Albuquerque Mutual Aid has a simple list of needs and a simple mission: To protect our at-risk community members during the COVID-19 emergency in New Mexico.

"We are a community who has each other’s back, and we are going to get through this together by Albuquerque New Times leading with love and standing in our courage,” said Selinda Guerrero with ABQ Mutual Aid.

Guerrero said they aim to help people who lack a support system.

"Mutual aid is a core value for many of us,” Guerrero said. “The organizing we do in the grassroots, so whether it be in support of prisoners returning home or the unsheltered in our community or young people who are being outcasted at school—all of the marginalized."

ABQ Mutual Aid volunteer Zoey Craft said the virus only made it more difficult for people who struggle to get their basic needs met.

"This pandemic has really compounded and amplified a lot of issues that were already existing. And so, you know, a lot of these issues were access to food, access to, like, all of these different resources that, I think that need definitely existed before this, it's just been amplified by this kind of a crisis,” said Zoey Craft, a volunteer with ABQ Mutual Aid.

In the past few weeks, 50 volunteers with the organization have helped more than 2,500 people in the metro area get what they need during the pandemic. Volunteers said they’re sending out at least 50 care packages a day Press Release Distribution Services.

"This would not be possible without the generosity of the community stepping up and sending their $5 at a time or their $300 donation—that is what sustains us,” Guerrero said.

The organization is helping to sustain people from nearly every walk of life.

“We've had families as large as 14 on our list, and individuals who are unsheltered or living in hotels, so we have seen the range from unsheltered community to even people who are living in gated communities who just don't have access,” Guerrero said.

While the ABQ Mutual Aid volunteers have seen lots of struggles lately, Guerrero said they’ve also witnessed the best the community has to offer.

“This has been so inspirational in a time that we're in a pandemic that so many are sitting in fear and anger and not being able to reconcile those emotions, and I hope they're able to find some hope and joy from projects like Mutual Aid,” she said.

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