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Student Forms a Group of “Shopping Angels” To Help Old People Get Groceries During Pandemic

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  • Jaydee Powell got the idea when her mother mentioned calling elderly neighbors to ask if they need anything.
  • She started with fellow fraternity members for volunteers and later got more from all over the U.S.
  • The group created a GoFundMe account for those who can’t afford to buy necessities.

Shopping for groceries is hard enough during these trying times of the coronavirus outbreak, so imagine how much harder it is for the sick and elderly to go out and secure even just their essentials. Good thing there are kind souls who are willing to help the less able-bodied get what they need from the stores.

Jayde Powell, an honor student of the University of Nevada, created this network she called Shopping Angels. She got the idea when her mother called elderly neighbors to check if they needed anything at home.

Powell, a pre-med student, knows people who have an underlying health condition, especially ones with heart, lung, and immunity problems, are at much higher risk of contracting the virus.

She first enlisted around 20 members of Phi Delta Epson, her medical fraternity, and then later reached out to other classmates for recruitment. The network received national attention via her interview with CNN, which resulted to more volunteers.

“I woke up this morning to 20 voicemails and 56 emails. And I’ve got people in Connecticut, Long Island, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Arizona that want to volunteer,” Powell said.

She used email, phone, and social media to connect with volunteers across the country.
Clients give them a shopping list and money for the purchases, while others do their shopping online and ask the Shopping Angels to do the pickup.

Powell also advised the elderly not to hesitate to call them even if they are short on budget.

“We don’t want money to be a deterrent. If you cannot afford toilet paper or something like that, you’re still free to reach out to us,” she said.

She created a GoFundMe account to raise funds for those who can’t afford to buy essential stuff.

Private businesses have approached Powell to donate to the program. Anderson Dairy, which is based in Las Vegas, donated dairy products for the network.

To ensure their safety and of their clients as well, Powell requires her angels to don masks and gloves when transporting, picking up, and delivering the goods. She also asks them not to go inside the clients’ homes for additional safety.

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