Mutual Aid Society of Haverhill Forms to Link Those in Need with Those Who May Help

The Haverhill Police Department erected barriers Thursday to enforce its no walk-in policy now in effect. (WHAV News photograph.)

A new organization, Mutual Aid Society of Haverhill, came together formally yesterday to help link individuals and businesses with needs with those that may help.

It’s not the 4077th, but it is MASH for short and the brainchild of Haverhill Education Association President Anthony J. Parolisi. He said he researched what other communities are doing and found good examples in such communities as Somerville and Brookline.

“Rather than every different group kind of go off in its own direction, and overlapping of services, it seemed like a really good idea to pool resources and get everybody together and on the same page and come up with a division of labor that made sense for the community,” he told WHAV.

Yesterday, there were 25 people involved in a conference call to hammer out details. Parolisi says links between those in need and providers could begin in the next week. Charter organizations are Merrimack Valley Project, Haverhill Latino Coalition, Haverhill Education Association, Greater Haverhill Indivisible and Haverhill Education Coalition. Although created for the current crisis, Parolisi says, MASH could be helpful as an ongoing institution.

“The impetus for this is that there already isn’t one kind of central community resource that can work for the whole city,” he said.

The group is beginning with an inventory of existing resources and services and those who may provide general aid. The latter could come in the form of “virtual companionship” to alleviate loneliness during isolation or “neighborhood pods;” involving people who may text message groups or form telephone trees with neighbors; and support for local businesses by encouraging takeout and delivery orders.

For those who need assistance, a list of resources can be made available as well as linking them with those who can help deliver food, medication or other necessities; provide childcare; prepare forms for government food programs; and supply other services and support.

The Mutual Aid Society of Haverhill can be reached by calling 978-228-5322 or emailing [email protected].

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