App State students lend a distant helping hand to aging population, immunocompromised

Xanayra Marin-Lopez, Reporter

Boone citizens are taking the initiative in lending a hand to the aging population, who are at a higher risk for developing complications from COVID-19. 

Kayla Bowman, an App State senior, offered “grocery runs” for the elderly in a post on App State Classifieds.

Bowman said she recalls reading an article about an elderly couple scared to go inside a grocery store because of COVID-19. The couple waited outside the store and asked a younger woman if she could do their shopping. Bowman said this story led her to extend a hand to that population.

“I believe people should help out if and when necessary. This is the time to come together as a community. All we have is the helping hand we can offer to those in need,” Bowman said. 

Bowman, who is 22, said she is using her youth to her advantage.

“My age range is at lower risk of fatality and it’s only best that we as a community and samaritans offer help to those more at risk,” Bowman said.

Bowman said she is saddened that she doesn’t get to experience the classroom for the rest of the semester. However, she is far more concerned for those around her.

“Students and teachers may eventually fall ill, be taking care of someone who is ill or have no access to internet and this will have an effect on online classes,” Bowman said. 

Bowman will use Walmart’s pickup options when helping. Those needing groceries can add items to their cart and pay via Walmart’s website. Bowman offers to pick up the items from the grocery chain and drop them off at an elder’s doorstep, within social distancing guidelines.

Social distancing guidelines suggest that staying at least six feet away from others and increasing the physical space between people will lower the spreading of illness.

Those at a higher risk of more serious complications from the novel coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, include “older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions.”

Bowman said she is glad to follow all guidelines and said, “There are ways to offer help even during a very uncertain time.” 

The six feet apart guideline is a precaution recently taken by Walmart itself. Shoppers now must first wait in a line of shopping carts six feet apart from each other outside the store, before being allowed in. Inside, only five customers are allowed per 1,000 square feet.  

Jake Keller, a music therapist and graduate student, also took to App State Classifieds to volunteer. 

Keller, with the help of his wife, proposed to help wherever a hand is needed.

“No charge. Just want to help my community where I can,” he wrote in the post.

Keller also mentioned that seeing others offer services led him to do the same. Keller is a frequent volunteer with the Hunger and Health Coalition, and said he wants to help with his additional free time. 

“We’re all in this together, so even if we are socially distancing ourselves, we can still help each other in different ways,” Keller said.