UNDATED --For every person in need, there's another person ready and willing to help.

That's the belief behind NorthStar Neighbor, a new nonprofit launched Monday in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The statewide effort matches healthy volunteers under 60 with seniors or those at high risk of complications due to COVID-19.

Volunteers might help with grocery or prescription deliveries and/or serve as remote companions for elderly or vulnerable people who are alone during a difficult time, says Hennepin County Commissioner and NorthStar Neighbor founder Jeff Johnson.

"Maybe they don't have family in the area, or they don't have neighbors who know them," Johnson said. "Maybe they're truly isolated. Here in Minnesota, we have that many and more people who are healthy and want to help. So, all we're doing is connecting them, one pair at a time, and then we're going to exit the picture and let them decide what that relationship looks like moving forward."

Johnson says he's fielded many constituent calls in recent weeks - many of whom are "feeling helpless" and are wondering how they can devote their time to a worthy cause. Johnson says NorthStar Neighbor stands to benefit both parties in different ways.

"The people who are volunteering are giving a gift to someone who needs some help," said Johnson. "But, the people who are asking for help are giving a gift to people who desperately want to help someone right now, and really have no other avenue for that. So, we really encourage people to join in and create those relationships."

NorthStar Neighbor is available in every community in Minnesota. Anyone wanting to volunteer or needing a match can apply at www.NorthStarNeighbor.com or by calling 612-430-8899.

 

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