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What is Petty Cash used for?
Published on December 20, 2020 by E

If you’re checking out our budget (please check out our budget!) you’ll see that one of our more frequent reimbursements is petty cash for the tent. In the interest of being as transparent as humanly possible about our operations I’d like to explain what it’s for.

A big part of this mutual aid effort is helping folks released from Cook County Jail get home safely by providing rides to those who don’t have transportation already arranged. We have wonderful volunteer drivers who do most of these, but when a destination is way out in the suburbs it isn’t practical to tie up a volunteer driver for an hour or more in Chicago traffic when they could be making multiple shorter trips. Enter: The Cabbies.

Long before we set up the purple tent outside of CCJ in June there have been four independent cab drivers operating at 27th and California providing rides home to released folks. We built friendly working relationships with each of them and at this point have an agreed-upon fare structure where we pay a rate of $3 a mile for a long trip. Usually we have at least two of these longer trips per night, so at present our costs are $150-$200 a day.

It’s a lot of money, and we’re aware that using rideshare apps would be cheaper on a purely financial level. We do use rideshare apps as an absolute last resort when there are no cab drivers or volunteer drivers available, as a matter of fact. However, when we began doing mutual aid outside of CCJ we knew we wanted to foster community and economically displacing people who have been an integral part of that community for years just to save a few bucks would be harmful and arrogant. It would also be foolish; in addition to providing a much-needed service, the cabbies also share with us a wealth of knowledge based on their collective decade-plus of experience of how CCJ operates, which in turn helps us better support folks being released. 

So, when we use your donation for petty cash, that’s where it goes. We’re committed to being accountable for our expenditures, so if you ever have a question you’d like us to answer either privately or publicly let us know!