As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to push more people into isolation, we’re seeing many people — especially those who are at high-risk for the coronavirus — unable to obtain the supplies and services that they need. This is true even in rural America, where the average age of farmers is close to 60. As much as we may not like to think about hardworking and resilient farmers and other rural folk being “at-risk,” experts consider many in that demographic to be particularly susceptible to the virus.
Born out of the desire to reach people most in need, the nonprofit organization Helping Hands is harnessing a largely volunteer force to serve senior citizens, the immunocompromised, people with pre-existing conditions, and others who are particularly vulnerable. These volunteers are delivering groceries, medicine, and other necessary supplies to help people stay healthy and to promote responsible social distancing for those who need it most.
This is a nationwide movement that’s just getting started, and with virus-related restrictions expected to go on for months, it’s not too early to get this effort rolling. Whether you’re someone in need of help or you want to be the one out there helping members of your community, it’s completely free to be involved.
Here’s how it works:
To request help: Sign up on the Helping Hands website and describe what you are in need of. Helping Hands will send a text message to your smartphone and connect you to a local volunteer (if available) to run an errand on your behalf.
To volunteer to help: Create a profile on the Helping Hands website, and you’ll then be able to see the things that people need delivered and you can select the neighbors you’d like to help.
If you have a loved one or know of someone in your community who would benefit from this support, consider sharing this initiative with them or place a request on their behalf. There are community benefits in urban, suburban, and rural areas — but as you can imagine, with smaller populations living farther from one another in rural regions, the need here can be great.