So many young people are stepping up to grocery shop for the elderly

It’s easy to feel helpless — but it’s just as easy to pick up the phone.

Across the country, young people are launching small grassroots teams to help protect at-risk seniors by handling their grocery checklists. One of those groups is the newly-formed Dallas Delivery Bridge, which relies on referrals from local doctors who help connect at-risk patients with volunteers. Leading the charge is 25-year-old Robert Finkel, who lives in Texas with his girlfriend, Allison Estopare.

“Instead of complaining about all this free time now, we can actually do something to help out the community,” Finkel said.

The couple recently documented a grocery excursion for In The Know, which you can watch in the video above. In advance of the outing, Finkel spoke with the recipient a few times on the phone to get a full list of her shopping essentials.

The woman, an older individual who is immunocompromised and hard of hearing, was grateful for the groceries — and she was perhaps nearly as happy just to have a friendly person checking in. Isolation is exacerbating feelings of loneliness in elderly people, according to reports by the New York Times, USA Today and more outlets.

Finkel drops off groceries at a senior citizen’s home.
(Video: Robert Finkel / In The Know’s AmiLin McClure)

Similar volunteer programs have popped up across the country. A college student in Nevada launched an initiative called Shopping Angels, which sparked efforts under the same name, nationwide.

Finkel, a pharmaceutical rep focused on vaccines, is particularly attuned to the rapid transmission rate of COVID-19. He takes every precaution before his grocery excursions, even layering two different types of face masks for greater efficacy. He also sanitizes each item and plastic bag before approaching the recipient’s home.

“I hope everyone else starts doing something similar,” he told ITK, adding that he’s seen many types of volunteer efforts in the Dallas area. “This is something we can do on an individual level.”

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