Montclair Mutual Aid volunteer opportunities

Montclair Mutual Aid volunteer opportunities

Behind-the-scenes projects

MtcMA newsletter and blog

  • We’d love to start emailing and posting to MtcMA participants and community members regularly. Would you like to help do this?
  • Volunteer opportunities:
    • Writing and editing
    • Graphic design
    • Social media posting
    • Email list management

Publicity

  • We need help getting the word out to as many Montclair-area people as possible. Flyers, press releases, newspaper contacts, social media, etc.
  • Volunteer opportunities:
    • Writing, editing
    • Graphic design
    • Public relations
    • Publicity campaigns
    • Social media posting

Social media

  • We need help running our Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok presence, as well as our website.
  • Volunteer opportunities:
    • Creating posts
    • Responding to inquiries and comments

Resource website for critical needs (montclairmutualaid.org)

  • We research local organizations and created an information hub to help people find essential resources. This brings people closer to organizations that help meet needs.

Organizational structure and dynamics

  • We need help improving our structure, meetings, governance practices, and interpersonal communications.
  • Volunteer opportunities:
    • Organizational psychology
    • Consensus decision-making process
    • Restorative justice
    • Meetings efficiency

Legal

  • We need help in figuring out whether and how to spin out a nonprofit organization for finance, tax, and donation purposes.

Bookkeeping and acccounting

  • We need help recording incoming and outgoing funds. We need advice on how to structure our accounts and finances. And we need help with filing tax forms.

Current frontline projects

Free food pantry kiosks (with NE Earth Coalition, UU Congregation, and other orgs)

  • These are open to all, 24×7, and are in multiple neighborhood locations. They are not supervised or observed by an attendant – so people can get food in privacy and with dignity. No qualifications or ID are required.
  • Volunteer opportunities:
    • Regular checking and restocking from donated inventory.
free little food pantry kiosk

Direct giving of emergency cash

  • We give money to people who request it. No qualifications or ID are required – so no degrading or undignified process of having to apply and be judged. We help with crowdfunding, which lets recipients feel engaged in getting their own needs addressed. A MtcMA person talks directly with each recipient, which helps the recipient feel respected as an individual. Conversation and referral to available resources help meet the person’s full spectrum of needs, not just cash or impersonal advice.
  • Volunteer opportunities:
    • Recipient liaisons
    • Social media fundraiser graphic design and posting
gold bars

Monthly free food distros with live music at Glenfield Park (with Toni’s Kitchen and Parents Who Rock)

  • It’s not a handout or a food line. It’s a family and community event where people are welcomed as neighbors. We do not require qualifications or ID, so it’s truly open to all. It includes many types of items, not just food. It’s in a residential neighborhood at a convenient time, not at a remote location open only during business hours. We designed the event to reach people who were not well served by existing Montclair soup kitchens, pantries, and charities.
  • Volunteer opportunities:
    • Liaison for food donations
    • Liaison for park reservations
    • Liaison for musicians
    • Music performers
    • Dropoff location for donations of clothing, toiletries, etc.
    • Setup, replenishment, and takedown of tables
    • Flyer graphic design
    • Publicity and social media posting
food distro

Aisle 7 distribution of menstrual products (with Montclair Menstrual Club)

  • This activity addresses a specific group whose needs are unaffordable or unmet because of who they are (people who menstruate). It promotes equality (helps level the playing field) by meeting needs that are intrinsic to who people are. No qualifications or ID are required.
  • Volunteer opportunities:
    • Dropoff location to receive product donations
    • Pack and label product bags
    • Deliver products to distribution points around town
aisle 7 menstrual products distribution

Freeshop events

  • These periodic events distribute donated items for free to community members. Our first Freeshop, in October 2021, collected thousands of kitchenware items, and held an indoor event where hundreds of people came and took items for their home. The event also included storytelling about cooking, food, and family kitchen traditions.
  • Volunteer opportunities:
    • Planning for Spring 2022 Freeshop event
kitchenware freeshop

Weekly community food gardening (with NE Earth Coalition)

  • It’s a hands-on participatory program where neighbors can both help grow vegetables and take food to eat. It’s a learning opportunity about gardening and nutrition. It helps make people more self-sufficient. It distributes food even to non-gardeners via Toni’s Kitchen. It builds relationships between community members by allowing time to talk and work together.
  • Volunteer opportunities:
    • Weekly hands-on gardening at Montclair sites, Spring-Summer-Fall
community food gardening

Gofer errands

  • MtcMA volunteers do errands (e.g., pick up and drop off school lunches) for people who can’t get out (lack of transportation, unavailability during limited hours, immunocompromise, …). These free activities help build neighbor relationships and community goodwill.
  • Volunteer opportunities:
    • Public relations, publicity
    • Graphic design, social media posting
    • Occasional or regular pickup/dropoff errands in the Montclair area

Collect and distribute free air conditioners during summer

  • No qualifications or ID are required – this avoids the degrading or undignified process of having to apply and be judged. We clean and test the ACs, to reduce the humiliating feeling of receiving poor-quality, cast-off items. Environmental stewardship is promoted, by keeping functional units out of the landfill.
  • Volunteer opportunities (Summer):
    • Social media posting
    • Logistics
    • AC pickups
    • AC cleaning and testing
    • AC dropoffs

Connect people for flood cleanup equipment borrow/lend

  • We put people in touch, and let them directly arrange with each other the terms of their own lending and borrowing. This builds relationships between individuals in the community.
  • Volunteer opportunities:
    • Social media posting
    • Contacts liaison, arrangements, and logistics

Future project ideas

We’re always looking for new ideas for Montclair-area community members to work together on meeting needs. If you have an idea and would like Montclair Mutual Aid to participate or help organize, please let us know!