Isolated by the Coronavirus, But Not Alone: Effort Helps Ensure Shut-Ins Get Groceries, Care

Marlene Yeo of Somebody Cares New England during an earlier WHAV appearance.

The coronavirus has forced some Haverhill residents into quarantine, but a group of volunteers is making certain those people are not alone.

On Tuesday, the Haverhill City Council recognized the efforts of several individuals and organizations who are working to ensure those who are shut-in are still able to get groceries and care of their families. Health Department Nurse Mary Connolly has been acting as the coordinator for the program carried out by the Mount Washington group Somebody Cares New England. She says it has been a total team effort.

“So this was a great collaboration between Someone Cares New England, Bill LaPierre over at Sacred Hearts. It was a group of volunteers. (Mayoral Chief of Staff) Allison Heartquist was initially the forerunner of setting this up,” she told councilors.

Connolly said those in quarantine receive a voucher and call-in grocery orders which volunteers pickup and deliver to their front doors. She added, if the person is unable to pay, Somebody Cares has been covering the tab via donations from the city and individual donors.

City Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua placed the item on the agenda, asking his colleagues to recognize the efforts of the individuals responsible for the COVID Assistance Volunteer Grocery Shopping Program.

Nomsa Ncube, the city’s representative to the Community Action board of directors says the volunteers do more than just deliver groceries. “We not only focus on delivering food and groceries, but we make sure that every need they might have is also met. So, it is an honor and it is a privilege to be able to save our fellow citizens,” she said.

Councilor Timothy J. Jordan called the program a great example of the community rallying together during a challenging time.

Those who seek to help are advised to contact Somebody Cares or donate to the One Haverhill Fund.

In other COVID-19 related action, Mayor James J. Fiorentini reported the city’s Public Health Task Force has been assembling videos, flyers and other materials to encourage people to get the vaccine when it becomes available.

He also had a message for sports fans regarding this upcoming weekend.

“This weekend is Superbowl Sunday, but I’m asking everyone who listens, please do not have a Superbowl party with anyone outside of the people you live with. We can party next year, but we can’t get our health back if we lose it this year.”

The mayor did say Haverhill’s virus numbers are dropping slowly, but this is not the time for residents to let their guards down.

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