SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – While the mayor has ordered San Franciscans to do their part by staying home, she is also urging healthy people to help those most vulnerable in our communities.
Volunteers say they don’t know how long they’ll be able to help since the situation continues to evolve but they say as these essential services stay open, they feel it’s their duty to lend a hand.
You could sense the difference across San Francisco on Monday.
Restaurants, clothing stores and bars sitting empty but grocery stores, gas stations, banks and pharmacies remain open, leading volunteer groups like Next Village SF down a different path.
“We are shifting to the essential tasks people need done, prescriptions, groceries,” Jacqueline Zimmer Jones said.
The group has been around for 10 years, offering social gatherings and other essential help to the elderly.
Now, amid coronavirus concerns, they’re putting new precautions in place…
“Since a virus like this doesn’t turn the infected people purple, we have no way of knowing, so we’re exercising extreme caution and instructing our volunteers to do the same. We’re asking if they have gloves, to use them, and again asking them not to have direct contact wash hands before and after,” Jones said.
While Next Village SF offers a paid membership and background checks for volunteers signing up to help, they’re noticing a new trend too.
“When we call and say do you need anything usually they say yes, but we’re hearing more. My neighbor just went to the store for me,” Jones said.
“We’re having a whole conversation about how to exchange money and goods. I’m encouraging people to use Venmo and PayPal,” Emily Scott said.
Emily Scott is one of many who have been using the Next Door app and Facebook to offer up their help.
“Within 24 hours I had almost 60 people offering to volunteer,” Scott said.
She’s created a group called Pacific Heights neighbor to neighbor coronavirus care.
“This will all start evolving depending on what people need us to do. So heartwarming and overhwhelmed by our neighbors and how much people wanna share,” Scott said.
“If you know your neighbor — take their help! That’s why it’s so important to know your neighbors period,” Jones said.