Trinity Mutual Aid raises $3000 at community market

Organizers leaned into their creativity when planning the event

If you walked into What’s Brewing Roastery and Cafe on Saturday, Sept. 11, you would have immediately been enveloped in the aroma of roasting coffee and the dinging of pinball machines.

The real action, though, could be found through the back in the warehouse, where you would have joined the bustle of people picking out thrifted clothes, homemade art, stickers and potted plants. All of these were for sale at the Trinity Mutual Aid Market, and all the funds Trinity Mutual Aid made from this market went towards helping the local San Antonio community.

University of Georgia doctoral candidate, Joel Izlar, defines mutual aid in the University of Georgia School of Social Work newsletter. Mutual aid is “when everyday people get together to meet each other’s needs, with the shared understanding that the systems we live in are not meeting our needs and that we can meet them together, right now, without having to pressure power structures to do the right thing.”

Trinity Mutual Aid’s event satisfied the community element of mutual aid. Every part of the event was put together by the members of Trinity Mutual Aid themselves, with no institutional help.

Trinity Mutual Aid founding member Victoria Henretty, a senior anthropology and Russian double-major, explains that Trinity Mutual Aid is not an official Registered Student Organization (RSO) at Trinity. Trinity’s decision to deny Trinity Mutual Aid status as an official organization has sparked some controversy, especially with club members.

“I want to note that we are not a club. We are actually a non-profit now, not just because of clarification but because the school has explicitly asked us to not be affiliated with them. Despite the fact they use us for their publications like their magazine, we aren’t allowed to operate on campus. I just felt this was important to point out because Trinity has simultaneously pushed us off campus, while also toting our accomplishments,” Henretty said.

Since they had no institutional help, Trinity Mutual Aid single-handedly found the location for the market, What’s Brewing, by reaching out to local businesses that they thought would be interested in their cause.

“We tried to think of local businesses that would be open to partnering with a leftist organization. We reached out to a bunch of different coffee shops, especially because they’re kind of known for working with the community, and What’s Brewing was super interested,” Henretty said.

According to the owner of What’s Brewing, Sami Chbeir, What’s Brewing lives up to the reputation of coffee houses wanting to work with the community.

“I know that the proceeds are going forward to the homeless and different families in need, but quite frankly, we just heard there was a chance to do something with the community, and you know, we usually jump on this,” Chbeir said.

What’s Brewing was especially interested in working with Trinity Mutual Aid because of how invested the brewery is in the San Antonio community, having been rooted in the area for nearly 40 years.

For the event itself, Trinity Mutual Aid leaned into their strength in creativity.

“So we all love fashion individually. We’re just thinking of like, what can we do as a fun event? And we have tabled before, we’ve sold art before and we’ve sold jewelry. And we thought, what if we expanded to clothes?” Henretty said.

While the members of Trinity Mutual Aid did a lot of the work themselves, they also got members of the Trinity community to contribute.

“What if we picked out fun things or looked through our closets and asked our friends to donate their clothes too, and sold them to raise money, especially because there’s a lot of people in San Antonio who love fashion,” Henretty said.

Overall, What’s Brewing and members of Trinity Mutual Aid raised $3,000 to support the San Antonio community. That money will go to assisting community members.

“Neighbor to neighbor, we are going to help you meet your needs and redistribute you wealth to your neighbors,” Henretty said.