By Gaige Davila
After Hurricane Hanna swept through the Rio Grande Valley, countless people throughout the area found themselves needing help, some of whom have had their homes destroyed by floodwater.
On July 26, a group of around ten RGV organizers started a crowdfunding campaign, the RGV Mutual Aid Fund, in an attempt to give funds as quickly as possible to those affected locally by Hanna’s damage. The group has grown to at least 40 volunteers, as has the money they have collectively raised, receiving $1,000 in donations within an hour of launching the campaign.
RGV Mutual Aid has now received over $44,000 as of press time, with over 500 requests for aid, according to volunteer Leslie Torres, who logs aid requests for the campaign.
Torres said the large response to the campaign is largely due to its accessibility.
“I think people were eager to donate to this cause because it’s community based and there aren’t an extreme amount of hoops you would need to jump through to receive aid,” Torres said. “This is especially helpful for undocumented families.”
Volunteers at RGV Mutual Aid are dispersing funds through cash sharing apps, like Zelle, Cash App, Venmo and Paypal. By request, funds can be transferred by bank wire or by cash.
There’s no set fundraising goal, Torres said, and the RGV Mutual Fund will continue collecting donations and dispersing funds as needed. As of now, there’s a backlog of requests, forcing volunteers to close their aid request system until all requests are responded to.
“In theory, our fund will continue assisting the community until we run out of donations, which feels a bit scary considering we get more serious requests every day,” Torres said.
RGV Mutual Aid Fund’s requests range from around $150 to $10,000, and the campaign is doing their best to provide at least a portion of the aid requested.
“It feels worthwhile that we can contribute any amount due to the graciousness of our donors, but we would like to assist more,” Torres said. “We have over 500 official requests, and since we have closed our request form, we have been receiving even more requests through social media. So while $40,000 is a lot of money, it isn’t enough to assist our community members who are in dire need.
RGV Mutual Aid Fund, through their Twitter account, posts their dispersal and donation process, as a measure of transparency for potential donors and those requesting aid.
To donate to the RGV Mutual Aid Fund, visit https://linktr.ee/Rgvmutualaid.
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