A college student in Nevada, US, is building a network of "shopping angels" who provide free grocery deliveries for elderly people, and those with underlying health conditions who are more vulnerable to the novel coronavirus.
Jayde Powell began by recruiting about 20 of her fellow members of a medical fraternity, but her network of volunteers has expanded dramatically.
"As a pre-med student, I know that people who are older or people who have heart, lung, or immune conditions are especially at risk for contracting the virus," she told CNN.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that those who are at higher risk from coronavirus avoid crowds as much as possible, which is why reducing the need for them to go to the grocery store is so valuable both for their health and public health in general.
The organization also works with older adults with budgetary restrictions, and has set up a GoFundMe page that will help cover the cost of supplies.
Powell has been stunned by the number of people who are contacting her wanting to help from across the country.
"I woke up this morning to 20 voicemails and 56 emails. And I've got people in Connecticut, Long Island, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Arizona that want to volunteer," Powell told CNN.
“Shopping Angels” also requires that its shoppers wear gloves and masks during the transportation, pickup, and delivery, and to avoid going into clients’ homes, to minimize the risk of spreading illness.
Elderly people and people with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, lung disease, and diabetes are more likely to develop a serious illness if infected with COVID-19, according to the World Health Organization.
Slowing the spread of COVID-19 is important for “flattening the curve" of infections, which will curb the outbreak, prevent hospitals from getting overwhelmed with patients seeking treatment, and ultimately reduce the number of deaths.
Those interested in getting involved with “Shopping Angels” can email the organization at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact them on Facebook. You can find out more ways that you can contribute to your community's efforts against coronavirus here.
You can see all of Global Citizen's COVID-19 coverage here.