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Neighbors helping neighbors stay connected

“We may be apart, but we don’t have to be alone.” That is the goal of a new online tool available to link volunteers with those in need.

With AARP Community Connections, you can find mutual aid groups that have already formed in your area, or start your own. Mutual aid can include picking up groceries, providing financial assistance, or lending emotional support to your neighbors. You can also request a phone call if you are feeling isolated or anxious, or just want to hear a friendly voice.

Although the Council on Aging of Buncombe County has suspended its dining room services at five senior centers, grocery deliveries are continuing, including deliveries to people who previously attended community dining programs. Click here for more information, or to find out how you can help by donating money and/or nonperishable food items.

AARP Mountain Region volunteer Kim Dickens found a way to help lift the spirits of those who receive grocery deliveries. She composed hand-written letters that included a short poem for the food recipients to remind them that "they are not alone; this too shall pass."

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AARP volunteer Kim Dickens writes letters of encouragement to recipients of grocery deliveries during the COVID-19 breakout.

When it comes to meal delivery, we need to practice social distancing, while still stay connected to help one another to stay safe and stay engaged. For example, in the Weaverville area, residents in some neighborhoods have found a way to deliver takeout meals to those who have difficulty getting out or who just want to support local restaurants.

Here’s how the neighborhood delivery program works. A group selects a coordinator, or rotates the task among several volunteers. A local restaurant is selected once or twice each week and a link to their menu is sent to the neighborhood mailing list. Individual households take care of ordering their food from the restaurant and paying for it by 2:00 pm. At 5:00 that day, neighborhood volunteers pick up and deliver the orders. It’s simple and any neighborhood group can do it.

How are you and your neighbors helping each other during this time? Share your story of community resilience with us and tag us on Instagram.

To help keep you informed about the coronavirus, AARP is holding weekly tele-town halls with experts from the federal government every Thursday at 1pm (ET). Anyone can dial in by calling 855-274-9507 at 1pm (ET) on Thursdays or stream it live at

Click here for the latest news and information on coronavirus including answers to some of your most pressing questions.

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