Joplin woman creates group to support community

Sierra Witzman

While COVID-19 has quarantined people to their homes, one Joplin woman started a Facebook group to connect people throughout the four states area who are all going through the same situation.

“I started doing some trolling on other places that are doing what I started and I came across one that was Canada Caremongers and joined the group and saw from the inside exactly what all they were doing, which was posting where needs could be met,” said Shelly Tarter, creator of the Joplin Caremongering page.

The group, Joplin Caremongering, grew quickly with many people joining.

“I was running the page by myself for three days and we got up to over 3,000 members within the first three days. Right now we are up to, I think, 7,300 members and that’s all people from the four states area,” said Tarter.

The group aims to help people through meeting needs, helping parents and caregivers, helping to ease some anxiety, and distributing information. 

“We also started posting humor every once in a while, because a way to deal with some anxiety is by throwing in a little bit of humor about the situation. Also, just a lot of things on self-care and checking in on your neighbors.”

Tarter said that the group has shown many positive results and people have come together. 

“A lot of community building has taken place within that group. [It’s] a great support system for people who are secluded, so it’s a way for them to reach out, get help, or communicate with each other. Or, you know, throw in a funny and laugh at each other. Anything they need, we feel like the group has been a great outlet,” said Tarter.

New changes are occurring due to COVID-19, not only through the community coming together but also through language. 

“I can tell you the term caremongering, because I did some research on it, was not even a term or word until three days before I joined the group in Canada so it’s something that has just come out of this whole situation,” said Tarter.

With the inability to go out and do things in the community people are finding new ways to communicate and get social interaction. The way many people are doing that is through technology. 

“The only place that we can go to is technology when it’s available to us,” said Tarter. 

With all of the changes in the recent months, Tarter sees the positive in what she is able to do through the group she has created.

“It’s just an amazing experience to get to connect with people that I’ve never connected with before where we’re all sharing the same situation. We all cope with it differently and we can be there through technology to support each other,” said Tarter.