A volunteer bike brigade

Source: the NY Times

“On Friday, Liz Baldwin, a librarian at the New York Public Library, was told that she wouldn’t be coming to work for at least the next two weeks.

She did not think long about what to do next — recently, a friend in China had told her about the couriers of Wuhan, who, on scooters and bikes, helped keep a locked-down city supplied and fed.

“I thought, you know, I can do that,” she said in a phone interview on Wednesday.

She posted on Instagram and Twitter asking if anyone might be willing to help. They were.

On Wednesday morning, Corona Couriers counted more than 30 volunteers; by the end of the day, that number had exceeded 50.

Courier groups are sprouting up in dense communities around the country. An operational Slack room is used to coordinate the groups and many of those in it have a background in social work and volunteering.

Among members, there is extensive discussion about safety, hygiene and “what it means to have a no-contact service,” Ms. Baldwin said.

The couriers work for free, asking only for the cost of what’s delivered. “This is a mutual aid project,” Ms. Baldwin said.

Initial requests for help came from friends and neighbors in Brooklyn; this week, a Brooklyn branch of the Democratic Socialists of America added Corona Couriers to a growing list of mutual aid organizations, and the couriers started fielding requests from across the borough.

Last week, Daniel Szymczyk, a student and former bike courier, knew he wouldn’t be tending bar for the foreseeable future, so he started asking around about ways to help.

Someone forwarded his information to Corona Couriers. He’s been delivering all week.”

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