Middletown Mutual Aid Collective (MMAC)
“Mutual aid is people helping people. We have all types of needs: housing, food, medical, emotional, social, and more. We can meet them ourselves.”
—Middletown Mutual Aid Collective
“Mutual aid is collective coordination to meet each other’s needs, usually from an awareness that the systems we have in place are not going to meet them. Those systems, in fact, have often created the crisis, or are making things worse. . . . .[Mutual aid projects] directly meet people’s survival needs, and are based on a shared understanding that the conditions in which we are made to live are unjust.”
—Dean Spade, Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During This Crisis (and the Next)
What is the Middletown Mutual Aid Collective?
The Middletown Mutual Aid Collective, or MMAC, was formed in April of 2020 by a group of local organizers, some Wesleyan students, and other Middletown residents. Right now, MMAC’s work is centered around two projects: the Middletown Community Fridge and Direct Cash Assistance. Over its 9 months, it has redistributed over 60k of grassroots donations through its Direct Cash Assistance program, and has fed hundreds of North End residents with its round-the-clock community fridge. The MMAC is a collective, which means that the collective comes together as a group and makes decisions together to address what needs to be done in the Middletown community.
In supporting Middletown Mutual Aid, we commit to working together as a community to take care of one another, making sure that everyone has free and direct access to what they need to survive and thrive, right now: quality food, drinkable water, safe and comfortable housing, clothing, medical care, education, money, childcare, and other services. We know that working in solidarity will help everyone, and that it is our responsibility to take part as much as possible.
WesNEAT & Middletown Mutual Aid
While there is a lot of crossover between students who work with WesNEAT and students who are directly involved with the Middletown Mutual Aid Collective, we are a separate entity and as such we take MMAC’s lead in both what resources they need and what ways we can be most useful. As students with access to immense resources, both in our network and in our tangible assets, we know it's our duty to the community which nourishes us to use those resources in solidarity with the people who live here.
With the plenty of our student meal plans, students have been collecting donations every week outside of WesShop of toiletries, sanitary products, and food items for the Middletown Community Fridge and pantry area. The University absorbs all unused points at the end of the semester, so by using our points to fill the fridge we are making sure that the points which we had to pay for are put to good use. In the last two weeks of the fall semester, people’s excess points bought over 100 boxes of fresh produce, bread, toiletries for the fridge.
Wesleyan students also fundraise for the MMAC by connecting with students on social media, reaching out to parents, and hosting monthly benefit concerts featuring local and student artists. Donations are accepted any time, in any amount, and can be made through online money transfer services like Venmo and PayPal, or directly through the MMAC donation page on Ioby (a tax-deductible funding site for community organizing). Students have rallied behind MMAC, and raised a lot of the money that helps our programs function. We know that their families have the capacity to double those contributions, and we have resources for them to learn more and do so here for students, and here for families.