Wearing a mask on her face as she pushes a grocery cart out of a Kendall Publix, 25-year-old Sabrina Diaz is hoping to slow the impact of the pandemic by volunteering to run errands for those who can’t leave their homes because they are at high risk of the virus.
“We wanted to move away from fear and move towards a more solution-based action plan,” said Diaz.
The Miami resident recently joined the Buddy System Network after hearing about the volunteer group from friends. Her assigned buddy is 79-year-old Kendall resident Maruja Chavez.
“I don’t go out for nothing,” said Chavez, who explains she only has one lung, is diabetic, is all alone and terrified to go out.
Buddy System Network founder Kristin Guerin says she started the organization less than two weeks ago and has already recruited 200 plus volunteers helping dozens of seniors and other people who can’t otherwise leave their homes.
“We’re constantly placing people with buddies, so once you are placed with a buddy, the idea is that now someone that is your neighbor, so hopefully a couple city blocks from you,” said Guerin.
Another organization called HEART2HEART Outreach of South Florida is also stepping up by joining churches of all denominations to donate tablets to seniors in isolation so they can communicate to loved ones.
And Broward County also launched what’s called Senior Touchline to offer special services. Those interested have to register by going to 211-Broward.org.