Around Our Regions: North Country 1199er Founds Mutual Aid Network

July 14, 2020

NCountry_fa.jpgAt the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak John Gordan, a pharmacy tech at Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital wanted to do something to help his community. As a tenant’s rights activist and candidate for local office, he knew that North Country New Yorkers would be hit hard by the pandemic physically, psychologically, and economically. So Gordan and a friend set up a mutual aid Facebook group, “North Country Neighbors Helping Neighbors.” They expected the page to be among many outlets for information and services for New York State’s North Country. They were surprised when the group attracted more than 8,000 members looking for information on everything from unemployment to food pantries. Gordan says he’s proud of the way North Country residents have stepped up to help each other. The area was struggling before COVID, with manufacturing losses and other serious blows to the economic base. “I’m very concerned about our future,” says Gordan. “We’ve seen lines of hundreds of cars waiting at food pantries around the country. The way our economy is organized is not in the best interest of the people.” Gordan hopes COVID will change the way society operates. “I’m hoping there will be more openness, and things will be more democratic.”

1199 Magazine | May / June 2020