Asking for help is hard.
As a people, we—meaning Americans, but especially Midwesterners—pride ourselves on our scrappiness, our boot-strappiness. Appear needy? No thanks. Fuck a handout.
But in the chaos of this current moment, which has closed bars and restaurants and nearly every other public place along with salons, daycare centers, venues, and schools, there are an unprecedented number of people out of work and in need of a hand. To which more and more Minneostans are saying: Great, then let's give them one.
Earlier this week, a tweet started circulating from Minneapolis's Kate O'Reilly, who sent the message below to her 6,000-plus followers.
Pay it forward thread: If you work in the service industry and are affected financially by the shutdowns, please reply your Venmo/PP below so everyone who wants to (~6000 people in my feed) can send you a tip of $3 or $5 or $10 (or more).— Kate O'Reilly (she/her) (@cleverkate) March 16, 2020
Over the past few days, the thread has collected around 100 replies, with everyone from bartenders to baristas to childcare workers to hair stylists chiming in with Venmo usernames and PayPal accounts.
It works simply enough: People identify themselves as being in need, and Kate slingshots their info into her timeline for her followers to see. Whoever feels like it can Venmo/Paypal accordingly. There's no centralized distribution point; anyone can nominate themselves or a loved one as needing a little help.
There are, of course, a number of great nonprofits or benefit organizations you can donate to during These Trying Times. But that's not always the best or fastest way to get money right to those who need it, and who need it now.
So instead, Minnesotans are taking matters into their own hands. You can, say, ask for help via this Google sheet for out-of-work locals. It's entirely volunteer-run, and parters folks whose livelihoods have been affected by the coronavirus shutdowns with individuals and families who are willing and able to help.
And then there's the GoFundMe circuit. Spyhouse Coffee has started a "Virtual Tip Jar" for its baristas; Electric Fetus employees launched a "Friends of the Fetus" staff relief GoFundMe; Lawless and Stilheart are raising emergency funds for their employees here. You can help service and kitchen staff at Gluek's at this link, bartenders, box office workers, and event staff from Hook and Ladder Theater & Lounge here, or support Modern Times staff members here.
These times are hard, and they are—sorry—quite likely to get harder. So if you come across another thread or donation page providing direct support to employees in this time?
Email us, and we'll add it to the list.
Stay tender, y'all.