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Volunteers help high-risk neighbors during COVID-19 Outbreak

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Posted at 9:20 PM, Mar 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-24 23:34:52-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Hundreds of volunteers are stepping up to help at-risk neighbors who aren’t able to leave their homes during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Sarah Townsend Smith started "Covid Help Nashville" with a single Facebook post last week that encouraged people to check on their neighbors. Now volunteers are grocery shopping, picking up prescriptions and running errands for people who are worried about leaving their homes. The initiative aims to help those who are elderly, immune-compromised, or at high risk of contracting COVID-19.

“It just blew up overnight,” said Sarah Townsend Smith. “Every single day it has grown, and now we are helping people all over the city.”

On Tuesday, one of those volunteers, Jeff Ford, picked up groceries for a senior citizen in Nashville. Volunteers are connected with people who need help through a Facebook group. Deliveries are free and made with no contact. People using the service are still responsible for paying for groceries or medication, and work out the payment with the volunteer who is helping them. Ford said volunteers are also cautious to wash their hands regularly in an effort to prevent the spread of germs.

“This is something I can do,” said Ford. “I have the time, my business is flexible and I am in good health. It’s something I love to do.”

Ford said he has completed around four errands for people across the Nashville area. Each time, the recipient was very thankful.

“We have to help people during times like this,” said Ford.

“It’s been really nice to watch the way the volunteers have connected with these people who need help,” said Townsend Smith. “It’s turned into something that’s more than errand running.”

If you need help, or you want to volunteer you can call (615) 447-8260 or email covidhelpnashville@gmail.com

Smith said volunteers will be available to help for as long as the COVID-19 outbreak continues.