Student Delivers Groceries to the Elderly for Free During Coronavirus

Paper bag with different food on wooden table. Top view. Grocery shopping concept
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A 20-year-old student is giving up her spring break to deliver groceries for free to the elderly, who are considered at high risk if they catch the coronavirus.

Jayde Powell, who studies at the University of Nevada in Reno, received a call from her mother in late February urging her to check in on her elderly neighbors to see if they needed anything as confirmed cases of coronavirus started popping up across the country.

As public health experts ask many people to practice “social distancing,” they especially urge those who are elderly or at high risk of catching infections to stay home.

“As a pre-med student, I know that I can get sick just like everyone else, but the consequences won’t be as severe. So I thought it’d be great to get a group of people together to help those who can’t necessarily leave their house right now,” she told Today.

Powell organized several members of her school’s medical fraternity, Phi Delta Epsilon, and formed a group named Shopping Angels.

But the the need for grocery delivery was not limited to Nevada and was happening across the country, so Powell created a Facebook page on March 13 to expand her growing movement.

“It’s grown so much over the last few days! We have so many unread emails and messages and we are still trying to address the nationwide response to this movement,” she said. “It’s amazing. I never expected it to be as big as what it is.”

The way it works is a “Shopping Angel” is linked to a local citizen in need. That volunteer receives a shopping list, money, and a budget. Some clients can choose to order their groceries online and arrange for them to be dropped off at their house.

And unlike other delivery services that charge a delivery fee, Powell’s service is free.

Powell asks her volunteers to wear gloves and not enter people’s homes, so they do not put the elderly at risk.

Powell hopes to get a Shopping Angels group set up in every state and has created a GoFundMe account for those who cannot afford to buy groceries.

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