5 Heartwarming Stories of People Helping the Elderly Amid Coronavirus

From organizing deliveries to sharing their groceries, these people are helping the elderly in dire times.

The coronavirus pandemic and the threat of a national lockdown have caused some people to panic-buy essential supplies until there's nothing on grocery store shelves for anyone else. Not only is it selfish and unnecessary, it also gravely affects the age group that is most susceptible to the virus: the elderly. Heartbreaking photos of seniors standing amid rows of empty shelves have gone viral. Luckily, stores like Target and Whole Foods have instilled special hours just for seniors. And there are plenty of people who've been helping the elderly with their shopping and other errands, and also by showing them compassion. Here are some of the most inspiring stories of people helping seniors that we've seen so far amid the pandemic.

1. This woman who gave an elderly man her hot dog buns

On Mar. 16, Helena Ellis put up a Facebook post, saying that she saw a man who was "probably at least 84 years old" standing "with an empty trolley staring at empty shelves of bread." Heartbroken, she gave him one of the last two hot dog bun packs that she had taken. She urged other people to help out the elderly and ask them if they need anything, or offer them something that's out of stock that they could do without.

"In a time of complete and utter madness and chaos, please don't forget to look out for each other and look out for those who need it most," Ellis wrote. "Don't be consumed by greed."

2. These two young New Yorkers who started a volunteer network to deliver groceries to the elderly


Liam Elkind, a junior at Yale University, and his friend, Simone Policano, enlisted over 1,300 volunteers to help deliver food and medicine to seniors and other vulnerable groups in New York City—where panic buying was at its peak after the city essentially shut down. Calling themselves Invisible Hands, the group offers the elderly the option of filling out a delivery request form and having their shopping done and delivered to their door.

"It's gone from extremely casual to extremely operational very quickly," Elkind told the Associated Press. "This is one of those times when I remember that New York is such a small town, and people are willing to look out for one another and have each other's back."

3. This pre-med student who created a network of "shopping angels" for the elderly

Jayde Powell, a pre-med student at the University of Nevada, similarly started a network of Shopping Angels to deliver groceries to the elderly in her area. Since word got around on social media, she's now digitally connecting seniors and volunteers all across the country. She also created a GoFundMe account to raise money for seniors who might not be able to afford supplies. So far, they've raised more than $24,000.

"We're doing this to try and reach out to people who might feel that they are just completely alone in this situation," Powell told CNN.

4. This woman who bought groceries for an elderly couple who were too afraid to enter the store

On Mar. 11, Rebecca Mehra was going to the grocery store in Oregon when an elderly woman yelled for her to come over and tearfully told her that she and her husband were too afraid to go into the store.

"She told me she had been sitting in the car for nearly 45 minutes before I had arrived, waiting to ask the right person for help," Mehra tweeted. The woman gave her money and a grocery list, and Mehra bought the groceries for them.

"I know it's a time of hysteria and nerves, but offer to help anyone you can," she tweeted. "Not everyone has people to turn to."

5. This woman who's bringing her therapy dog to nursing home windows

tonka visiting residents at their nursing home
Photo courtesy of KXAN News

Tonka, a Great Dane therapy dog, is used to visiting his senior friends at the Cedar Pointe Health and Wellness Suites in Cedar Pointe, Texas. But when the nursing home canceled all visitors in an effort to protect its residents from the spread of coronavirus, Tonka's owner, Courtney Leigh, had an idea.

"We really missed our visits and I thought, 'What can I do personally, on my own, to try and continue some of the "feel-good" that this wonderful dog gives to everyone?'" she told KXAN News, a local NBC News affiliate. So, she decided to continue Tonka's visits, just from outside the nursing home's windows, holding a sign that says "We Miss You."

Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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