Covid-19? Meh. Home-Bound College Student Sisters Start Volunteer Food Delivery App
Service to others continues as an enduring positive value, even in the age of Coronavirus and social distancing
April 8, 2020
Sisters Leat and Kayla, 20 and 19 years old, were sent home from college as most other students were this semester because of COVID-19.
These sisters, however, had as father Rabbi Sam Newman, chaplain of the West Bureau Los Angeles Police Department. "Rather than sit around and waste time they decided to do something constructive," Newman says.
Enlisting friends, the two sisters created a WhatsApp group, Shopping Helpers L.A., that receives requests for groceries from seniors and others at most risk for complications from the novel coronavirus. The app then pairs these requests with volunteers in the area who will shop for and deliver the requested items, sometimes visiting multiple stores to do so. No fees are charged and payment for the groceries is left between the volunteers and the clients.
Shopping Helpers L.A. started with just a handful of college student volunteers but has already grown to a force of over 350. The app receives over a hundred requests per day.
Unsurprisingly, both sisters were already engaged in academic studies focused on helping others. Leeat was at Bar Ilan University in Israel studying law and social work. Her plan is to become an advocate for children in the dependency court system. Kayla has been studying at an online university with an eye to a career in alternative medicine. Once the crisis is over, they plan to return to their studies, turning over the reins of the network they've created to a local charity group.
Rabbi Newman says the volunteer delivery project "transformed my girls." Before deciding on their charitable action "they were anxious and uneasy about everything." Newman says now they "have a sense of calm and purpose that you don't usually see in girls their age."
The group is always looking for more volunteers and also accepts donations of goods. A thousand rolls of toilet paper were donated by one local company, a precious item that must have been greatly appreciated by Shopping Helper L.A.'s vulnerable clientele.
To sign up as a volunteer, visit http://www.myshla.com. From there, potential volunteers can indicate what geographical areas they can serve and will get a link to the WhatsApp group in that neighborhood.
Those needing service can either call 323-628-7071 or visit http://www.myshla.com.