There is a global online community that began at the start of the pandemic and has grown to include parts of the D.C. region. It’s called Pandemic of Love.
It’s billed as a grassroots, volunteer-led, mutual aid organization that pairs donors with people in need of assistance during the pandemic.
After losing her job in August, Angelina Maraya, of Springfield, Virginia, started what are dubbed “micro communities” for her city.
“I have some way of helping now because I have the time,” Maraya said.
Similar sites have also been set up in Woodbridge, Virginia, D.C. and Baltimore.
The goal is to help those in need meet essential needs — such as money to help with groceries, a utility bill or even medicines. She said nationally, a majority of requests for help have been for helping to put food on families’ tables.
Donors and those in need fill out online forms, and then they are matched.
“We introduce the patron to the needy person,” Maraya said.
Donors and recipients exchange first names only and communicate online, which Maraya said makes a human connection.
In addition to the existing micro communities, Maraya said anyone can volunteer to start their own for their cities and towns.
According to Pandemic of Love’s website, it does not run background checks to verify the circumstances of each person or family in need, nor does it certify the ability of a patron to donate prior to matching.
“This is a goodwill effort, run on love and faith in humanity and each other,” its website said.
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