By Dennis Finocchiaro
When the schools shut down to slow the spread of COVID-19, most teenagers went right into Saturday mode — relaxing.
But not Jasleen Gill, one young woman from the Philadelphia suburbs, where I live. She decided to try another route — the Corona Relief Squad.
I began seeing discussions about this group on Facebook and wanted to know more. Jasleen started the group to help take food and supplies to people who really needed assistance. The Corona Relief Squad Facebook page was created on March 14th and made over two dozen deliveries on March 15th.
I loved this idea! At this point in the Covid 19 timeline, I had mostly seen hoarding and a lot of negativity. What a positive idea, and a great way to make a difference!
“During these difficult and uncertain times, we provide and deliver sealed food items to elderly residents and to anybody concerned about providing meals — no strings attached,” Jasleen wrote on the group’s Facebook page. “This is a time of crisis. We are in this together, and will pull it through!”
The Corona Relief Squad garnered requests — as well as people who want to join their effort — via direct messages.
Some, though, worried the group wasn’t following the CDC guidelines. But from the start, Jasleen and the Corona Relief Squad made sure they knew the rules and followed them.
“We assure you that we only only deliver SEALED food items, wipe down every single item with wipes before delivering, and take precautionary measures such as wearing gloves throughout the trip. When we deliver, we drop the groceries on our recipient’s doorstep and notify him/her of the arrival through a Facebook message. No physical contact is made,” their Facebook page stated.
As per their About page, “We provide and deliver sealed grocery items to the elderly and to anybody concerned about meals. Please dm us if you need help! This wouldn’t be possible without our volunteers. Stay safe!”
Soon they encountered another problem — but a good one. The program grew and they had to start looking for outside help beyond the volunteers.
“We paired up with home health agencies and are beginning a REMOTE outreach program with their patients,” the group announced on Facebook. “As you know, the elderly and persons with pre-existing medical conditions are the most prone to more severe COVID-19 outcomes. Consequently, we realize that this makes these populations anxious, especially if they’re not knowledgeable about the disease itself.”
After a few days, they extended the offerings to include blankets.
On their travels, volunteers realized some recipients weren’t as informed as they should have been, so they started sharing important information, such as hand washing and other helpful strategies to avoid the illness.
Jasleen’s story even inspired two middle schoolers to collect and donate $400 for the cause. How cool is that?
It inspired me, too, to help others. I started talking to my neighbors more, reaching out to relatives, and making sure they were okay and didn’t need anything. All because of the Corona Relief Squad.
Now, the Corona Relief Squad has a GoFundMe page to collect money so they can continue to grow and help more. At last count they had already helped over 70 local people/families, and they don’t want to stop anytime soon. Many of the comments on their posts refer to Jasleen as a “hero.”
This story was originally published in the TRIBAL under the TRIBAL Premium Partner Program. More information about TRIBAL can be found at https://tribalapp.com/.