Youth Across the United States Step Up to Help the Elderly

Emiko Perea
May 26, 2020

The COVID-19 virus has caused a lot of anxiety and pain for everyone who lost their loved ones, jobs, and a sense of normalcy with the fear of catching the virus. However, it is also during this time of crisis that we find many examples of goodwill in the world. There have been several cases of young people helping the elderly population, the group most at risk to get access to food.

In the United States, there are many healthy people who are offering to do grocery shopping for the elderly, including a woman named Becky Hoeffler from North Carolina who volunteered to go shopping for her aging neighbors.

Excerpt from Jason Duaine Hahn‘s N.C. Woman Inspired by Grandfather Does Grocery Runs for Elderly Neighbors amid Coronavirus at

“The idea actually came about when I called my grandfather the other day,” Hoeffler told the news station. “He told me, ‘I’m on my way to the grocery store,’ and I was just kind of concerned because he’s 91 and I thought, ‘Is there a reason you have to go to the grocery store?’”

Hoeffler was immediately concerned about the risks her grandfather was taking by going to the crowded grocery store. But she also thought of all the other elderly adults in her Durham community who were likely considering taking the same chances.

“That’s what made me think, maybe I can go grocery shopping for others since I do live in a community that has several senior citizen neighbors,” she recalled to the outlet.

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Meanwhile, teens, Matt Casertano, 15, and Dhruv Pai, 16, from Maryland started a delivery service called Teens helping Seniors to get medication and groceries to the elderly.

From Maryland Teens Start No-Contact Delivery Service for Seniors amid Coronavirus Crisis at

Matt Casertano and Dhruv Pai

Matt Casertano and Dhruv Pai Credit: MYMCMEDIA

“Everyday we get more and more volunteers and more and more seniors, so we’re expanding exponentially every single day,” Pai tells PEOPLE. “We’re growing really, really fast.”

As the program continues to rapidly grow, Teens Helping Seniors are looking for more volunteers to help during the coronavirus crisis. A post shared on its Twitter on Wednesday is asking for volunteers in the Howard, Baltimore and Prince George’s Counties as the organization has been “getting requests from seniors” in those areas.

“Everyone we know is doing this out of the kindness of their own hearts,” Casertano says. “We want to inspire other teenagers in other parts of the country and around the world to start similar projects.”

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In Baltimore, residents and the local football team donated to the Salvation Army to restock their warehouses with food for the elderly to get these resources.

An excerpt from Ravens Helping Salvation Army Assist Elderly During COVID-19 from

Salvation Army

Credit: Salvation Army

The warehouse at the Salvation Army of Central Maryland typically has enough food stored up to handle a months-worth of requests.

In the second week of March, when Maryland hunkered down with the COVID-19 epidemic approaching, the warehouse was completely cleared out in two days.

“The need came in heavy,” said Lt. Antonio Willis of the Salvation Army. “Our mission is to always respond.”

The Ravens are helping in that response with a $100,000 donation, as well as space to operate in an M&T Bank Stadium parking lot. Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young made the announcement during a press conference Tuesday.

“The Ravens are our hometown heroes more than they can ever know,” Willis said.

Many of the calls were coming in from seniors who couldn’t go out to buy their own food and/or didn’t have their typical help in getting food. The Baltimore City Department of Aging called asking for immediate assistance for about 5,000 residents.

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