Norfolk organizers help elderly, vulnerable citizens find volunteers during COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 4:15 PM, Mar 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-24 17:34:08-04

NORFOLK, Va.— Everyday tasks like going to the grocery store have become more difficult for the most vulnerable members of our community.

Now, a grassroots group is stepping in to make sure people have the necessities to weather the worst of the coronavirus outbreak.

TJ Thompson helped spearhead Corona Aid 757 to rally his neighbors to band together to help the most vulnerable people get the basic necessities to survive while coronavirus runs rampant. He says more than 150 people have signed up to help in their free time.

“We’ve already delivered goods to over 30 people that I know starting since last Wednesday,” says Thompson.

The website allows users to submit a service request for errands like groceries and medical supplies. People can also submit that request by phone at 757-598-1480. People can also fill out a form to volunteer their time.

“It’s kids, it’s mothers, it’s your next-door neighbor, and that’s what draws me out,” says Thompson.

Tuesday, he went shopping for a Norfolk neighbor who is at greater risk if they’re exposed to the deadly virus.

He takes comfort in helping those who are suffering in this time of need, filling his cart with the items off a small list— things like fresh veggies, meat and cheese.

He recognizes many people no longer have steady income as a result of businesses closing and cutting hours.

“One paycheck away from a crisis is kind of one of our catchphrases.”

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He and other volunteers hope the Corona Aid 757 website will connect the community in need with more volunteers who are willing to help.

“The coordinator starts handling the information, figuring out what they need, and then we match them with one of those 150-plus volunteers that we’ve already gathered information [from] that are hopefully nearby,” says Thompson.

If the person is unable to pay, then the volunteers are willing to pay, and the group has collected funds to reimburse people for their expenses.

Thompson says the group will continue to make these runs until the need subside.

The Corona Aid 757 group is also trying to a fill a bus with supplies and necessities for the elderly and immunocompromised.

Thompson and others are meeting at the Lidl at 4033 Portsmouth Blvd in Chesapeake from 5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. on Thursday. More details about the event are on the Corona Aid757 Fill The Bus Facebook group.

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