MEMPHIS, Tenn. — During the COVID-19 pandemic, communication can be a challenge for those least connected. A nonprofit in Orange Mound is ensuring everyone is being take care of.
JUICE Orange Mound founder Britney Thornton said it was a red flag, when the pandemic hit, and they weren't hearing from people in the community for help. They knew the need was out there. They just had to find them first.
"We realized once the pandemic hit, we weren't hearing from residents and so for us that was a red flag," Thornton said. "It was just a clear indicator that we didn't have lines of communication with people who we knew actually needs and were being impacted."
To do that, volunteers went door-to-door, to every home on the 117 streets of Orange Mound. Volunteers placed fliers on each home with details of the help they were offering and how people can reach out.
Immediately, they received a lot of response, Thornton said. Many of the people reaching out she described as elders in the community that live alone and are not connected with resources and family.
"This project is showing us that a number of people are just outside of communication loop. They have needs. We asked, one of the questions, are you in an emergency situation? and some of the responses are just heart-gripping to hear," she said. "People, they don't have families that are supporting them or they don't know about resources."
Wearing masks, JUICE volunteers deliver the the care packages on the weekends. Inside, it's filled with food and important hygiene items like masks, gloves and sanitizer. Thornton said they also try to personalize them with requested items. For example, one person was in need of pet food.
On Saturday, JUICE will provide their last care package delivery but the help doesn't stop there. As Thornton describes, this initiative gave them a line of communication to people most in need and now they'll be able to provide more help and resources to them moving forward.