NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Grocery shopping has become a hassle for many during the coronavirus pandemic, and there are plenty of people who can’t go out and get the food they need.
Long lines and long wait times are the new norm outside grocery stores – a risk many people just can’t take.
That’s where the nonprofit Invisible Hands comes in.
“It’s important for the elderly and the immunocompromised to stay home,” volunteer Mayuko Nakatsuka told CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis. “I don’t want anybody to go hungry.”
Co-Founder Healy Chait said Invisible Hands was built in response to COVID-19. She was one of three founders who saw a need to help people who can’t get food and other crucial items on their own.
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The group now has more than 11,000 volunteers delivering in New York City, Long Island, Westchester County and parts of New Jersey.
“If you open your door and there are a bunch of groceries sitting there, it’s like invisible hands dropped them off to you,” Chait said.
Since Nakatsuka lives on the Upper West Side, she was assigned to shop for a nearby couple who filled out a delivery request form online.
She gets a grocery list to shop for all the items needed and sets up a payment that works best. In this case, she’s paid back at drop-off.
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After shopping for the items, the volunteer will then deliver them to the recipient’s home.
Nakatsuka leaves the groceries at the door, and the couple slides her a check – following social distancing guidelines.
“I have been amazed at the quality, and the excellence of the volunteers,” said recipient Bob Pollack.
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Pollack, a Columbia University professor, learned about the service through his doctor. He’s been paired with Nakatsuka about a dozen times.
He said without her help, “we would have raised the possibility higher than it is of one of us coming down with the virus.”
“I would rather go outside, do whatever I can to help people,” Nakatsuka said.
She’s have a hand – an invisible hand – in keeping people healthy.