UPDATE: West Seattle Covid Recovers website is launched to coordinate local assistance efforts
UPDATE March 26
Organizer Phil Tavel shared this update on the new West Seattle/South Park based Covid recovery site that went live just a few days ago.
westseattlecovid.recovers.org has been up and running for a little over 48 hours. We have had several offers of donations come in - the donations have been for toilet paper, toiletries, and masks. We have had 5 people make needs requests, including one for a senior who had medical issues and needed food - she was connected with the senior center and their program that they are doing with West 5 to make lunches for people; and we have had a couple of requests for toilet paper - which we were able to fill; and also housing and clothing requests that we have passed on to other providers.
What has been amazing is that we have already had over 40 people sign up to help, to volunteer to do food deliveries, drive people, or just whatever may need to be done. We are working to get volunteers vetted and to pair up our "needs" with our offers of assistance. Please continue to share the website and sign up to help or give. Also, we ask that people look out for any vulnerable neighbors they may have - and let us know if there are people you know that should be looked in on.
We really are in the beginning phases of this lockdown, and the next couple of weeks will be critical for us to stay on top of the crisis and the needs in our community; especially our neighbors who need help getting groceries, food deliveries, medicine, etc.
Thank you West Seattle!
Original Post March 23
Community organizers Phil Tavel and Brendan Kolding in West Seattle, along with West Seattle resident Sarah Rodermund have launched a collaborative emergency response effort online to better connect individual volunteers and community organizations with local needs as Seattle ramps up support for emerging needs associated with the COVID-19 crisis.
The platform can be accessed at WestSeattleCovidRecovers and is intended to compliment official government and agency response efforts. Founded in 2012 by young tech-savvy MIT graduates who were responding to a local natural disaster, the Recovers.org platform allows volunteers to direct resources towards individuals with specific needs.
The goal of the effort is to provide a more structured way for individuals and organizations to ask for and offer help. They anticipate that this will supplement activity that is already informally happening on Next Door and other social networking sites. "It's not an either/or," Tavel says. "It's a both/and. We need everyone in our community to come together on this, and we are eager to provide additional tools."
The Recovers.org site allows organizations to register volunteers, post resources, and communicate with other organizers, volunteers, and individuals in need. Both needs and resources are tagged with specific labels like "transportation" or "medical supplies" that are searchable to streamline the matching process. In addition, site administrators can help facilitate communication and recruit resources as needs emerge.
The Recovers.org platform has been used broadly, with over 325 active sites in communities across the world, including several in this area. The Bainbrige Island Recovers.org site has been in operation for nine years and has built a broad coalition of volunteers and resources, with close to 300 volunteers across a number of service domains. The effort was started to prepare for a natural disaster, but has been critical in organizing over the last few weeks. Orcas Island residents launched their Recovers.org site within the last few weeks, with a specific intent to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. "We've been in close contact with other Recovers.org organizers in the area," says Tavel. "We are optimistic that these relationships will be long-lasting as we think both about this crisis as well as any others that may come. Particularly on the waterways, we expect that our communities will need to share best practices and resources, and we have committed to do this in the short run, in particular, as we respond to this unprecedented health crisis in our communities."
To use the platform, please go to www.westseattlecovid.recovers.org.
If you have any questions or are interested in helping out (and we do need more people to help coordinate this effort), please contact Phil Tavel at 206.949.8680 or firstname.lastname@example.org.