‘Enough with disparity’: UC San Diego student’s Instagram page shares free resources with all
An Instagram account designed to share free resources with local people who need them has garnered attention lately with a viral video, and its creator, a UC San Diego student, is hoping for even more.
Arianna Chavez, a biology major in her senior year at UCSD, started the Instagram account San Diego Free Resources in September 2019 to collect and share information about organizations that assist those who are struggling.
“I just noticed that there were lots of disparities among low-income families, people of color, all around,” Chavez said. “A lot of people needed resources.”
The Instagram handle is @bastaladisparidad, or basta la disparidad, which translates from Spanish to “enough with disparity.”
“One of the big goals of the account is to minimize disparity,” Chavez said.
The page was created to be a place where “any person, regardless of their need, can come and have a one-stop shop for all the resources available in the county,” Chavez said.
She said she noticed that “a lot of nonprofits will post about resources for the community they serve, but some people don’t necessarily qualify” under the posted standards.
Chavez, who is eyeing a career in medicine or the nonprofit sector, said: “I’ve lived in low-income areas; I’ve known a lot of people who have struggled. I know how simple things like getting a free meal can be huge for somebody. That’s essentially what drives me.”
She said San Diego Free Resources gained a lot of traction after a video she posted Sept. 7 explaining the page and its purpose and urging viewers to share it went viral, with more than 61,300 views so far.
With thousands of viewers sharing the video, thousands of others saw it, leading to a boost in followers and ultimately “more people are using the resources,” Chavez said.
The page has more than 7,400 followers who can gain access to the variety of resources Chavez shares.
To find those services, Chavez follows many nonprofits on Facebook and Instagram and subscribes to organizations’ newsletters. “Whenever I see a resource they’re promoting, I’ll post it to the page,” she said.
In curating her posts, she looks for services without many eligibility requirements — “something that pretty much anyone could get.”
“I try to post a little bit of everything,” she said, “for people who are a little food-insecure, people who need constant help … it’s a bank of resources for everyone.”
The page focuses primarily on food distribution, Chavez said, but she also posts a variety of resources about materials donations and services for families and mental health.
“My goal is to have a healthy community,” she said, “which includes mental and physical health.”
Chavez said she was inspired to start San Diego Free Resources after she interned with Support the Enlisted Project, a nonprofit aimed at aiding people in the military community. She managed the organization’s social media, which helped her build marketing skills for her own account.
For now, San Diego Free Resources is solely on Instagram. “I felt Instagram is the big social media platform,” she said, “and nothing like that had been on Instagram. I figured that would be a great way to start out.”
Since the page has gained more attention, “people who work for nonprofits reach out” with tips, which Chavez incorporates into the shared resources, she said.
Chavez said one follower was inspired to start a Los Angeles-based free resources page, and she hopes people in other cities will follow suit. It ultimately feeds the overarching goal to ensure “more people have the resources they need to have a happier, healthier life,” she said. ◆
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