PORTLAND, Ore. — Social media can often be an unfriendly place, but right now people in Oregon are using it to spread some good during the novel coronavirus outbreak.
“Knowing that I can help in some way, in a hard time, makes getting through it a little more bearable,” Nicole Fischer said.
Fischer started a neighborhood page on Nextdoor to find out how she could help her Northeast Portland neighbors in need during this difficult time. She wanted to connect her neighbors who are not at a high-risk of serious illness from COVID-19 to those who are.
“My hope with it was that people in their houses who are scared, who are alone…older people or people who are immunocompromised, would just know that there's people really close by who could grab them something and run it over, drop it off at their porch. Just so they feel less alone,” Fischer said.
From Nextdoor to Facebook, Beaverton to Portland and beyond, groups are popping up all over social media offering help.
While high-risk neighbors are being asked not to leave their homes, others are out of work because of the pandemic and need help getting by. The grassroots group is working with volunteers to deliver food and supplies to those who need it most.
PDX COVID-19 Mutual Aid Network set up a link where people can request resources by filling out a questionnaire. The group started a GoFundMe site to raise money to be able to meet those requests.
They beat their goal of $10,000 Monday afternoon, but knew they would need more funds as more requests came in. They raised their goal to $50,000 by the early evening. As of 6 p.m. Monday, they had raised more than $17,000.
While the internet is still full of negativity, it’s also filled with hope, fellowship, and the best in our community. Neighbors helping neighbors and reaching out to do what they can in an uncertain time.
“From this Nextdoor thing, I realize there's a ton of people who are thinking like me, who want to do anything [to help],” Fischer said.
While social media is a great resource to connect, Fischer noticed an issue: many of the people who are at high-risk for serious illness from COVID-19, mainly older adults, are often not on Nextdoor or other social media sites.
So, Fischer went the old fashion route and took her idea to print. She passed out fliers in her neighborhood that let her community know she is there to help.
“I came up with some text, that I just wanted to make sure was really clear [I] was not trying to get paid for this. It’s just a service I wanted to tack on to when I was doing a grocery store run or something,” she said.
Fischer is sharing her template for the fliers so that anyone can offer help in their own neighborhoods.
You can print it out for yourself by CLICKING HERE.