Volunteering for the Northwest Mutual Aid Collective
Linda James-Rivera and Nick Rivera’s journey of good deeds.
By student Mila Shane
Originally published in The Miquon Celery Stick, our student-run publication.
In 2020, Linda James-Rivera and Nick Rivera noticed that a lot of their neighbors and people around them in the Germantown area were food insecure. This was around the early days of the pandemic, so people were losing jobs. It was a very stressful time. They wanted to help people, so they created the idea of Northwest Mutual Aid Collective (NWMAC), a free food delivery service that helped people get what they needed. “We thought as a family, this was something we should do.” Said Linda, cofounder of NWMAC. When they first got started, they didn’t have a space to work out of, so they used their house. They turned their grown-up kid’s old rooms into pantries, and a lot of the other bedrooms too. “All the shelving in our current space was literally set up in some of the bedrooms in our house, as aisles in a supermarket. It did not look like a house.” says Nick, Co-founder of NWMAC.
All about NWMAC
NWMAC started out serving 3 families. Since then, they have gathered more people, and now serve 54 families, as well as 12 community fridges. In total, that’s about 560 people a week. Now, you may be wondering, how do all these people hear about NWMA? I asked Linda, and she said, “ People will hear about us from word of mouth, our website, or even some of the community fridge teams.” According to the NWMAC team, (Linda, Nick, and their son Anthony James), NWMAC is different from other nonprofit organizations because they give a more direct effect on the community, by doing home delivery of their food. Also, because every household’s bag of food is tailored (to the best of their ability), around things like diet restrictions, number of people in the household, or cultural needs.
The NWMAC team also told me all of their favorite parts of doing this job. Linda says hers is “Talking to families we serve, and just really understanding them.” “My favorite part of this job is working in the community, and talking at the universities, and just being more involved in the outreach aspect of the corporation.” Says Anthony. Nick’s favorite part is “Doing the house delivery, so I get to see the person face to face, and just really know who I’m making a difference for.” The hardest part for all of them is finding the money for all of this, and sourcing food. Which is why you can go to their website: Northwest Mutual Aid Collective and donate today! You can also visit their website if you would like to volunteer or make any other sort of donation. Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you next month!