SANDPOINT, Idaho — Nonprofit organization Come Together North Idaho is sponsoring the Idaho Mutual Aid Group for a fundraising project to assist those in need across the state, including those in the Magic Valley.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, both groups have set out to help people in need of various causes. Come Together North Idaho is more of an established organization and has been able to set up events such as food drives or pick up lunches.
Idaho Mutual Aid Group is a Facebook group consisting of people from all over the state. Their mission started much smaller, where individuals could reach out to the group if they needed something such as groceries, and another person in the local area could pick it up and deliver it to them. The motto of the group is "Neighbors helping Neighbors." Now, with the sponsorship, the group will be able to secure funds to help people on a larger scale.
"We fiscally sponsored them [so] for the point of making sure their business is legitimized, as well as having the capability to raise funds to help out families throughout Idaho Mutual Aid Group," says Leo Hunsaker, CEO of Come Together North Idaho.
Those on the Idaho Mutual Aid Group's board have been very appreciative of the sponsorship. The fundraiser can provide the group with proper funds to set aside for those in desperate need. While before it might have been something as simple as groceries, the group may now have the eligibility to assist in rental payments and other higher-cost expenditures.
"As a regular Facebook group with organic aid, you know we're not going to raise money. With fiscal sponsorship, we can raise money, have bank accounts, and distribute that money the way that we see it best," said Dallas Gudgell, a member of the Leadership Council for Idaho Mutual Aid Group.
While the goal for both groups is to help anyone and everyone, recent events have spurred the organization to have a more substantial focus on marginalized communities to lend their assistance.
"We also wanted to center already vulnerable communities, communities of color, communities with varying abilities, homeless, poor, LGBTQ+ communities. Those communities were already vulnerable, and I think we are understanding that now," said Gudgell.
The fundraiser is in very early days and does not yet have any precise numbers as to where the funds can be distributed. Still, both organizations have not set a limit or end date to the fundraiser as it hopes to support people over the coming months in a variety of ways.
As an initiative to accumulate more donations, Hunsaker has decided to give prizes out of his pocket for those who choose to sign up for recurring donations. The first, fifth, tenth, and twentieth person to do so will receive an Amazon gift.
There are many ways people can donate; people can first go directly to the nonprofit's website. They can also give through Facebook, the company's PayPal, or even mail a donation to the office located at 120 S Second Ave, suite C5, Sandpoint, Idaho 86864, although it requested to not send cash. For those who may not feel comfortable, the office can be reached at 208-508-2327.
All donations received will be respectfully distributed to both organizations.