illustration by Ren Rader
Over the last few months, people have come together as a community to take care of those around them. Some people have volunteered and used any resources they have to help people affected by COVID-19. Tiger Care Collective formed as a response to COVID-19 for Trinity students to help other students, and those in their city, once they were sent home.
“The organization is not affiliated with Trinity but it was created by students during COVID to help with any necessities in the community and outside of Trinity,” said Guadalupe Rivera, a junior double major in Sociology and Global Latinx studies. The organization connects Trinity students to volunteer opportunities and takes aid requests.
Trinity graduate and current student at the Baylor School of Medicine, Gabrielle Largoza, said “right when we got the news that Trinity was closing because of the pandemic, I was like okay what’s next? How do we move forward? How do we take care of our community?” With the help of biology professor James Shinkle, Largoza connected with seven other Trinity students and began helping the Trinity community connect to volunteer opportunities.
“I hope we become considered a mutual aid organization,” Rivera said. Tiger Care Collective is modeled after mutual aid projects, which are community-led aid organizations that are meant to empower the community and provide help that the government cannot. Rivera says she is inspired by Suenos Sin Fronteras de Tejas, a Latinx, Black and Women of Color-led collective that supports immigrant women and their families in South Texas. Some of their work includes raising money for people recently released from ICE detention, as well as raising commissary funds for those still detained.
Mutual aid projects help redistribute money and give people access to important resources like food. These projects do not follow a hierarchical structure as charities do. “We meet on a weekly basis. There’s no president or vice president there are four or five people on the board that shares ideas. I like it because there is no hierarchy; we are working in unity,” Rivera said. Largoza explained that, currently, Tiger Care Collective does not have the infrastructure to help redistribute funds, but they can help people access essential supplies and connect people to funds they can donate to.
Since Tiger Care Collective began after campus closure last spring, volunteer opportunities had to be remote. Emma Ross, a sophomore double majoring in Mathematics and Biology, said, “a mask collection project sent reusable masks to a homeless shelter in San Antonio and another a house that sponsors asylum seekers when they leave detention.” Tiger Care Collective sent people instructions on how to make masks out of old t-shirts they have laying around. Next, volunteers were sent an Amazon wishlist from the San Antonio children’s shelter so people could purchase items needed for the shelter. “We sent hundreds of dollars worth of donations to the children’s shelter in San Antonio,” said Largoza.
Transitioning to this semester, Tiger Care Collective is shifting its focus primarily to providing aid to Trinity students. They are launching a new project called Care Groceries, where people can submit a grocery list and have a volunteer pick up the order the next time they go to the grocery store. In order to receive aid, people should submit a Google form specifying the type of help they need. Ross said, “last weekend, I gave someone a ride to pick up a prescription.”
Tiger Care Collective is motivated to help students in any way they can. Rivera said, “recently we helped with someone who needed to go to the doctors because they don’t own a vehicle. It might not be safe to get into a taxi or Uber and it may not be safe, and you have to pay. A lot of people are under a lot of financial tension.”
To volunteer for Tiger Care Collective, contact them through their Instagram @tigercarecollective. On their Instagram is a Linktree, which directs to forms where Trinity members can volunteer or submit requests for aid.