San Franciscans have been stepping up to help each other in inspiring ways in the first weeks of the COVID-19 epidemic, and one nonprofit that just formed two weeks ago is collecting donated organic fruits and vegetables and delivering them to homebound seniors.
Last week we learned that some seniors living at the Altamont Hotel in the Mission were going hungry after a food pantry had stopped sending its volunteers on deliveries due to safety concerns. But this week we're learning that the nonprofit TogetherSF is using its volunteers — mostly employed SF residents who are currently working from home — to deliver fresh produce to senior citizens. As KTVU reports, the organization has signed up over 200 volunteers in just its first two weeks.
The fruits and vegetables are being donated by Earl's Organics and San Francisco Produce Market, in partnership with Wise Health, and as the group's website explains, TogetherSF was started by local residents Griffin Gaffney and Kanishka Cheng.
"We decided to take all the angst and anxiety we have about what is to come and turn into a way to support our City," they write. "Our local government and elected leaders are doing everything they can to prepare, and we see medical professionals putting themselves on the frontline. We are able bodied and have the time and resources to help others."
One of the seniors now receiving food from TogetherSF is 77-year-old Effie McInnis, a retired SF General nurse and a resident at Armstrong Place Senior Housing in the Bayview. She tells KTVU — and this is sure to choke you up — that she remembers well working on the frontlines of AIDS epidemic at SF General in the 1980s, and she wouldn't hesitate to do it again during this crisis if she were able.
"Helping people that need help," McGinnis said. "It makes me feel good to be able to help somebody."
If you want to volunteer yourself, you can sign up here.