June 17, 2021
Shop Good has been part of the Round Up For change initiative since June of 2020 that allows our customers to directly support organizations and funds that cater to a variety of initiatives and causes. In 2020 We supported the Loveland Therapy Foundation that assists BIPOC in gaining access to therapy and assisting with therapy costs. In the duration of five months we were able to donate more than $1,000 with all the Round Up For Change contributions! This time around, we are ecstatic to announce a new partnership that is local to San Diego, where Shop Good is born and raised.
We All We Got is a grassroots mutual aid fund supporting the San Diego community. Their main focus is food distribution and accessibility. WAWG launched in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which really highlighted the underlying issues of food insecurity and accessibility in San Diego. We reached out to WAWG to ask some questions on how it all started, who WAWG serves and how you can support them. We are eager for you all to get to know their story and those behind it!
Shop Good: How did W.A.W.G start?
We All We Got: We All We Got San Diego was started in mid-March 2020 by two long-time organizers in San Diego: Christina Griffin-Jones and Dr. DJ Kuttin Kandi. Both recognized that our community was facing a crisis that would further impact marginilized communities: the disabled, the chronically ill, the working-poor, Black, POC, Queer, Trans, immigrant families and other groups. They also recognized that starting a mutual aid was the fastest way to get basic necessities to people directly and to meet them where they are at. Through their preparation, they have built an organization that started as a grocery delivery program and has transformed into a two day food distribution and three day grocery delivery program that looks beyond the pandemic and brings people together to live in a world that we all deserve.
SG: How would you describe the main principles and mission for WAWG?
WAWG: WAWGSD is solidarity not charity. We believe that food justice is racial justice and we prioritize the most vulnerable in our community. We acknowledge that white supremacy, capitalism, hetero-cis patriarchy, imperialism, colonialism, xenophobia, and other institutionalized forms of oppression exist and we are not here to debate their existence. Crises like COVID-19 reveal the complex ways these systems have been enacting violence and death. We believe doing solidarity work means that you do your own work. It’s not up to those experiencing marginalization to educate you about systems of oppression. It is the work of those most privileged to do the work of calling in. WAWGSD is a great opportunity for those with resources and with access to capital to put in the work. We honor that people know what they need to survive and it is not our place to tell people how they will get free or what care looks like for them. We believe in self determination and that people know what they need best to survive. (These principles were written by Kelsey Daniels, Ana Laura Martinez, and Dr. DJ Kuttin Kandi).
SG: What is mutual aid and what sets it apart from a non-profit?
WAWG: We utilize a mutual aid model that builds power, collective action, autonomy and agency among systematically impacted and vulnerable communities. Our foundation is community care, grounded in a practice of intentionally building relationships and nurturing collective care through neighbor-to-neighbor support. A non-profit does not do this, non-profits allow vulnerable communities to stay hungry without any support by turning hungry people away. Non-profits allow a system of competition, meaning marginalized communities must fight for resources and feel as though they need to compete amongst themselves for aid. We, as a mutual aid, support the most vulnerable, the most marginalized, and we build solidarity among these communities. People do not need to “qualify,” or submit paperwork, or worry about asking for help more than once. Our mutual aid builds trust and through that, builds community.
SG:To those who may not know what ‘grassroots’ groups are, how would you describe it?
WAWG: Our grassroots organization came together because Christina Griffin Jones and Dr. DJ Kuttin Kandi organized their personal network of community members to build a framework and the initial group continued to organize and conduct outreach until our network of volunteers grew and grew. People share the skill sets that they have as we evolve and we respect everyone’s capacity and ideas. Our organization is horizontal as opposed to vertical, with a core group of Harmonizers who have the most experience organizing and fighting for the marginalized in San Diego giving guidance. We are all-volunteer, and we are part of the organization because we truly believe in the work that needs to be done to transform the community.
SG: What has been a highlight or moment that impacted you when working with the community through WAWG?
WAWG: The radical notion of caring for each other directly, that people can just ask for food or money and their neighbors can just give it to them has been the highlight of what I’ve learned personally. As someone who has never experienced food insecurity, I never had an appreciation for how hard the system makes it for people to both ask for and receive help. I remember delivering groceries to a mother in parking lot one day, she had been evicted and was living in her car with her son and she went to show me her paperwork that proved she was waiting for housing and as I told her we absolutely do not need to verify anything it struck me how we have failed to show up for each other in our community and how mutual aid is an answer to that. (Julie H, volunteer)
SG: Is WAWG solely supporting San Diego?
WAWG: Yes, we support all of San Diego county.
SG: What are some ways people can help support the community in this time?
WAWG: There are many ways people can support our community. We believe strongly in distributing resources and capital to those who need it the most, so grassroots organizations that provide direct aid are always a great place to start. A specific way to show up is by fundraising for WAWG. We have a food distribution weekly and through local fundraising we are able to buy food in bulk for WAWG. People can also donate food directly or organize a food drive. And fundraising does not have to be just for food, we also welcome diapers, baby formula, toilet paper, and other toiletries as we send care packages to our neighbors as well.
SG: What would you say to those wanting to volunteer or work with WAWG?
WAWG: We welcome more community members that are looking to support our neighbors! We have lots of opportunities for the community to show up, volunteering in-person or remotely, focusing on fundraising, social media, or communications with our neighbors. We have an instagram and those looking for opportunities to support our neighbors can reach out directly to us there @weallwegotsd. The one thing that we ask of all our volunteers is that they read and agree to our principles of solidarity work.
If you would like to volunteer, donate or stay up to date with We All We Got, you can check out their instagram @weallwegotsd or their website https://www.weallwegotsd.com/. To take part in the Round Up for Change initiative, you can select at checkout to round up your order amount to the nearest dollar or enter any amount you’d like. We are looking forward to connecting you all with WAWG and supporting our local community.