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Neighborhood Spotlight: How to Give Back During COVID-19 — 3 Ways to Help

This content was written and sponsored by The Keri Shull Team, Arlington’s top producing residential real estate team.

With so many people affected by regulations surrounding the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, it’s more important than ever to support our communities and take care of one another. That’s why so many amazing members of the Keri Shull Team have taken the initiative to make a difference in our local area and support those who need it during this time.

We interviewed some of these agents to ask them how they decided to help out in the way that they are, and how other people can get involved in their philanthropy.

Providing Local Food to Local Hospitals

Libby Bish and Rafael Melo are using their ingenuity and resources to give back to two groups of people who have been affected by COVID-19: healthcare professionals and local restaurants. They have been using donations to purchase food from local restaurants and give it to local hospitals and first responders in the DMV.

With the recent stay-at-home orders that were issued across D.C., Maryland and Virginia, people have been asked to stay in their houses except to complete essential business. Restaurants have been restricted to take-out or delivery only.

As a result, a lot of restaurants have struggled to maintain their customer base in a time when a lot of industries are floundering. Libby and Rafael saw this happen to a client of theirs, and decided to take action to help support local restaurants.

“Restaurants all across the world are taking a severe blow and we want to help! You can too! We know that hospital staff are working tirelessly around the clock to protect and treat our people. We’d like to help the locals by helping the locals. Ordering catering from our local restaurants and delivering it to the local hospitals should help in the short term.”

Libby and Rafael knew that they could help two groups of people in need, at the same time. So they decided to purchase food from restaurants that needed to make sales and deliver it to local hospitals, where dedicated and selfless healthcare professionals are working around the clock to curb the spread of COVID-19.

In the short time since beginning their drive, Libby and Rafael have fed over 160 nurses and doctors with 6 catering trips — and they’re just getting started!

If you want to help them provide stability to local restaurants and healthcare experts, then click here to donate to their ongoing GoFundMe project!

Taking Care of Senior Citizens

Another group of people that have been deeply affected by COVID-19 regulations are the elderly. Some of our agents — including Brianna Byrd and Elizabeth Landeros have recently been working with senior care facilities, helping ease the transition for seniors who are entering the retirement communities.

When the stay-at-home orders came across the DMV, these considerate team members decided to send flowers to these communities to help raise the residents’ spirits.

When they sent over the floral arrangements, the caretakers told Bri and Elizabeth some heartbreaking news — due to extra social distancing concerns for seniors, the residents are unable to have visitors or interact with the other members of the community.

That means that the senior care facilities are shutting down recreation rooms, gyms and common spaces, where the risk of infection would be higher. In many cases, the seniors are encouraged to stay in their individual rooms, with limited outside contact.

After hearing that, Bri and Elizabeth knew that they could brighten the residents’ days and bring them relief during this stressful time. They began to collect supplies for care packages and sent them to the care facilities. These boxes contain activities to stimulate both mind and body, so the residents can stay active without risking their health.

On top of the puzzles, coloring books and low-impact exercise routines that came in the boxes, the agents included our office’s mailing address, so the residents can reach out to us and be pen pals with our team. One of the hardest parts about the current isolation for many people is the lack of outside contact — and this goes doubly so for the seniors who cannot get out of their homes.

When we asked Bri how people can get involved, here’s what she suggested: you can give back to your community without spending a lot of money! If you want to make a difference, consider writing letters to the residents of senior care facilities, giving them someone to talk to during this stressful time. Alternatively, show your appreciation to the dedicated staff of the senior homes, who work tirelessly to care for their residents when other people are working from home.

“Doing the little things — that really cost no money — to make someone feel supported and loved and taken care of during this time is really important. I also think it’s really great if you can help the staff there, because they are still going in there everyday and they’re basically the only people that the residents are seeing. So anything to brighten their day — if you can deliver food to the nurses and the staff, send them flowers, write them thank you notes — the retirement community is one area that is a little underserved right now.”

Finding Masks for Doctors

As real estate agents, we help people from all walks of life — which gives us a lot of opportunities to give back. One such opportunity came when a client reached out to Erin Johnson for help.

This client works as a healthcare professional in D.C., and their office was running low on N95 protective masks — which doctors and nurses rely on to keep themselves healthy while treating patients in need. Due to the respiratory nature of COVID-19, a lot of people purchased stocks of these masks who do not need them, which led to a depleted stock of masks for doctors and others who need them for their own safety.

Erin’s client knew that contractors and home builders often use N95 respirators on construction sites, to filter out particulate in the air. They reached out to us to ask if we knew any contractors who would be willing to donate N95 masks to local doctors who are in need of protective equipment.

In just a single day, Erin was able to source enough masks for the client and his office, thanks to the generosity of our teammates and local partners!

However, many other health professionals in the DMV are still facing shortages — so we are still gathering donations to distribute to those who need them.

During these uncertain times, it’s more important than ever to come together and take care of those around us. We have been blessed with the resources that we need to help provide relief for our community — and we aren’t stopping here!

If you have any requests for how we can provide relief, or if you have questions about how you can get involved, please contact us today!

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