Kind people from around the world have been lovingly taking care of their elderly neighbors by doing their grocery shopping for them and helping to minimize their exposure to the coronavirus.
Becky Hoeffler of Duke University is one of the first women credited with starting this compassionate movement. The idea came to her when she was on the phone with her 91-year-old grandfather.
“The idea actually came about when I called my grandfather the other day,” Becky said. “He told me, ‘I’m on my way to the grocery store,’ and I was just kind of concerned because he’s 91 and I thought, ‘Is there a reason you have to go to the grocery store?’”
As the coronavirus is most dangerous for the elderly, Becky was worried about her grandfather being around large amounts of people in a crowded grocery store. He lives in New Jersey and she lives in North Carolina so there wasn’t much she could do, but then Becky realized that she has a decent amount of senior neighbors who could really use someone to do their grocery shopping for them.
Becky reached out to her older neighbors with an offer to do grocery runs and many gratefully accepted her help. Her neighbor Patti even used some of the flour Becky picked up for her to bake her a homemade loaf of banana bread.
“Am I excited that I’m probably going to get a sweet loaf of banana bread from my neighbor, Patti, because of this, yes,” Becky shared in a post online. “Either way though, I think being able to help your neighbor is one of the most American things that you can do.”
Becky even walked down to the senior living facility in her community, introduced herself to the residents, and left a sign posted in their building which reads:
“Need someone to do your shopping? I would be able to go to the store so you can avoid crowds due to corona virus!”
Becky’s kind efforts are helping to relieve some of the anxiety felt by our beloved older generation due to the coronavirus.
“One of the women I talked to said she will call me in a few days and is thankful that she can stop feeling anxious about having to go to the store now!” Becky shared.
Becky is also passionate about helping reduce the pressure experienced by our overworked first responders and medical personnel.
“In these situations, when the community steps up, you really lessen the pressure on first responders and medical personnel,” Becky said. “If you’re able to decrease, even by a little bit, the number of patients that have to seek care because they’ve been exposed to something, it’s good for the community as a whole.”
“Utilizing people power is one of the best ways that we can combat the virus.”
Also inspired to help their neighbors, people from around the world have begun offering to do grocery shopping for the elderly.
Rebecca Mehra posted online about how an elderly woman approached her in a store parking lot asking if she would help do her grocery shopping because she was worried about being around crowds who could potentially have the virus. The woman agreed and has also inspired others to do the same to help their neighbors.
“I went to the grocery store this afternoon,” Rebecca explained. “As I was walking in I heard a woman yell to me from her car. I walked over and found an elderly woman and her husband. She cracked her window open a bit more, and explained to me nearly in tears that they are afraid to go in the store.”
“Afraid to get sick as they are in their 80’s and hear that the novel coronavirus is affecting older people disproportionately. And that they don’t have family around to help them out. Through the crack in the window she handed me a $100 bill and a grocery list, and asked if I would be willing to buy her groceries. I bought the groceries and placed them in her trunk, and gave her back the change. She told me she had been sitting in the car for nearly 45 min before I had arrived, waiting to ask the right person for help. I know it’s a time of hysteria and nerves, but offer to help anyone you can. Not everyone has people to turn to.”
Kristin Fasy of Denver, Colorado, read the post and thought that she wanted to help out as well.
“I thought ‘Oh my gosh, how many people in my neighborhood are in the same situation?’” Kristin said. “I feel healthy now and I want to be able to do something for people who might not have the ability to get out there.”
Kristin made a post on Nextdoor.com, a website which helps people connect within neighborhoods, and let her neighbors know that she would be happy to pick up their groceries for them. Kristin explained that it’s important to remember to be kind to our neighbors during times of struggle.
“I think when things feel scary and something like this where everything feels uncertain, it can be easy to forget to be neighborly,” she said.
Another kind neighbor, Tim Wren, is offering to pick up and deliver groceries to his older neighbors as well.
“I know the older people are afraid and why not be on the front lines to help them out and keep them safe?” Tim said. “Anything they need, I’ll go get it.”
New Yorkers have also been quick to help their elderly neighbors.
“Look out for your fellow New Yorkers,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a conference. “If there’s someone who is in your apartment building or on your block who has medical challenges or a senior that has trouble getting around, check on them.”
Marilyn Morales is taking de Blasio’s message to heart and has begun knocking on doors of older residents in her mother’s apartment complex asking if she can pick up and deliver anything to them that they need.
“We have to do what we can to help each other,” explained Marilyn. “Not everyone has somebody.”
With many of our elderly worried to be around large crowds at the grocery store due to the coronavirus, it’s beautiful to see how many loving neighbors are coming together to help keep them safe. Let’s love and help take care of our neighbors; they would do the same for us.
You are Loved.
Please share kindness with others: when we share stories and examples of compassion and kindness, we inspire and encourage others to be kind and compassionate in their daily lives, making the world a better place for everyone.