Grocery Runs, Donations, and Memes: Inside the Rise of Neighborhood Slack Groups During the Lockdown
From New York to Columbus, Ohio, Slack groups are organizing to help neighbors in need
Hadass Wade was on her way home from her job as a bartender in the Brooklyn, New York, neighborhood of Bed-Stuy earlier this month when she stopped by a liquor store to stock up on provisions.
Everything was happening “really quickly,” she says. She and her co-workers were trying to come to terms with the rapid outbreak of coronavirus cases in New York City and self-quarantine orders from Gov. Andrew Cuomo. They weren’t sure whether or not the restaurant where they worked would have to shut down, leaving them unemployed.
At the store, she saw a sign that caught her eye. It was a flyer for a new group on the messaging app Slack called Bed-Stuy Strong, created in order to help residents of the Brooklyn neighborhood organize responses to the pandemic and stay-at-home orders. With over 150,000 residents, 46% of whom are Black, the neighborhood is larger than some small suburbs and has twice the poverty rate of the rest of New York City. She snapped a photo to share with her co-workers, most of whom live in Bed-Stuy.
The group also features niche channels like #succulents, #cooking, and #livestream-events.
“When I saw that there was a neighborhood Slack group that was specifically organizing to give information, resources, and support to the neighborhood, I thought it was really amazing,” she says. “And it was something that I for sure wanted to be a part of, to help out in whatever way that I could. In times like these, I think it does help to look beyond yourself and make those community ties and strengthen those community ties.”
Bed-Stuy Strong was launched in early March by Sarah Thankam Mathews, a local resident and fiction writer, to help her neighbors connect with each other amid the outbreak. Residents post requests for groceries or monetary donations, questions about what stores and restaurants are still open, and, of course, pictures of their cute pets and delicious snacks. The group also features niche channels like…