NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – In these trying times amid COVID-19, there was a glimmer of light as able-bodied New Yorkers step up to help those that cannot help themselves.

CBS2’s Tara Jakeway shows how some neighbors are using social media to identify those that need assistance.

“I’m feeling more isolated than usual,” said Chelsea resident Eleanor Forman. “I’m disabled, I live alone.”

Forman is one of many New Yorkers that routinely relies on home health aids and outside assistance, but that has all stopped as people practice social distance. By Wednesday morning she was frightened for her life.

“I don’t know how I’m going to make it,” she said.

That was until she turned to technology.

“I saw a message on the Nextdoor app for people who wanted to give help or needed help, and I said I could use some help,” said Forman.

“We’re all learning new ways of living as we socially isolate,” said Maryam Banikarim.

Blocks from Forman’s Chelsea apartment, Banikarim saw the post on the neighborhood networking app and started a group chat with her West Village neighbors. The response was immediate.

“It has been incredible, I had 90 people show up in almost 24 hours and I have to tell you, it makes you love your neighborhood,” said Banikarim.

Messages poured in for those in need: Residents offering to run errands, give rides, or in Forman’s case, stock their fridge with groceries.

What was her reaction?

“Relief,” she said.

“The fact that we can come to each others’ aid, that’s what’s going to define us in this moment and when we come out of this moment,” said Banikarim.

Neighborly aid is catching on across the five boroughs, like in Brooklyn Heights where the Clover Deli is dishing out free food – an example Forman hopes New Yorkers will follow.

“I hope you’ll be generous to your neighbors,” said Forman.

While we are forced to be apart, Forman hopes New Yorkers will continue to find a way to stick together.


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