Jeff Johnson, a conservative Minnesota politician, launched a new nonprofit Saturday that aims to connect the elderly with willing volunteers who can help who can help them during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although the coronavirus is statistically unlikely to kill young people, the elderly or those with underlying immune system deficiencies may face difficulty fighting off the virus. For this reason, individuals in these groups are advised by the CDC to take extra care to avoid excursions outside their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new project, North Star Neighbor, is a simple service that “matches healthy, low-risk Minnesotans who are 60 and under with someone in their community who is over 60 or is otherwise at a higher risk due to an underlying condition,” according to Johnson’s Facebook. Volunteers can provide “remote companinsionp, conversation and help with delivery of food or prescriptions,” the post explains. This should help those in high risk groups follow the CDC’s advice.
Johnson is clear that “this is not a government program, just a group of volunteers who want to help connect people.”
North Star Neighbors insists that all participants follow a set of safety precautions listed on the project’s website. These precautions aim to limit potentially risky contact between those involved.
Individuals looking to volunteer can sign up with a simple form on the North Star Neighbor website to be matched with a person in need.
Those in need of assistance can sign up with a similarly simple form to receive the help they may need as the coronavirus situation makes errands outside the home more risky.
Minnesotans can also call 612-430-8899 to become a North Star Neighbor.
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