The entire traditional American school system as we know it is on indefinite hiatus, thanks to coronavirus restrictions. But lest we assume teenagers are using their extra free time between Zoom classes to go engage in all manner of debauchery, the Washington Post has a story this week about two high school students who have been helping senior citizens throughout the pandemic. The kids are all right!
Dhruv Pai, 16, and Matt Casertano, 15, of Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland, were each shopping for their grandparents’ groceries at the start of the pandemic in early March. It occurred to Pai that if the two of them were shopping to keep their own grandparents safe, other seniors in the area who might not have family nearby could be in need of the same assistance. The pair created Teens Helping Seniors, a volunteer organization that organizes contactless grocery deliveries to those in need.
Teens Helping Seniors has already gone national, thanks to word of mouth and social media; according to its website, there are now 13 chapters across the country, with more than 300 volunteers serving hundreds of senior citizens. You don’t have to be a teen to volunteer, and in addition to groceries, the service delivers prescription medications and other necessities as needed. To keep seniors safe, the volunteers wear masks and gloves at all times; they call recipients about 15 minutes in advance to let them know groceries are on the way, and the recipients write a check for the groceries to leave in the mailbox (or submit payment via Venmo or Cash App) so they can maintain social distancing. It’s a beautifully simple solution that matches those in need with those who have the time and resources to help. In many cases, the teen volunteers don’t even have cars—they head out on foot or with bikes to make their deliveries. For some of them, it’s the first time they’ve been tasked with grocery shopping on their own.
“It’s definitely given me a greater appreciation of my mom when she goes grocery shopping,” one volunteer told the Post. Like we said: the next generation is shaping up to be pretty awesome.