BY KATHLEEN BOLUS
Thanks to a newly formed Lackawanna County neighbors Facebook group, face masks were made and donated to health care workers, senior citizens received needed essential items and parked truck drivers feasted on homemade meals.
“We’re trying to keep everyone together and encourage everyone to be positive,” said Sarah Worden, page administrator of the Lackawanna County Covid-19 Neighbor Assistance public Facebook group.
The page, created Friday, now has more than 12,000 members. It strives to connect the community and neighbors in need while many services and businesses are closed to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The response surprises her.
“We weren’t expecting it at all, maybe a few people,” said Worden, 32, of Throop.
Worden’s cousin, Nancy Shea, had the idea for the page. Shea reached out to Worden, a nurse with Caregivers of America who works with a variety of charities through her husband’s Scranton business, Slingin’ Ink Tattooing. They worked with Shea’s brother-in-law, James Shea of Dickson City.
Shortly after creating the group, members were alerted about a resident in need of food and supplies, said Worden. Within an hour, the resident received about six separate drop-offs of items on her porch, she said.
A major goal of the page is also to provide information on where items are available, including food, toilet paper, antibacterial wipes and cleaning products.
“The site is to help people who can’t get out of their house or, if they really need something to help them, be able to find it … and not have them to go to three or four different stores,” James Shea said.
A member of the group asked Monday where ground beef was available. Within 16 minutes, 16 comments directed her to Schiff’s in Scranton, Trovato’s Meat Market in Clarks Summit or Redner’s Markets in Scranton, among other options.
They also shared a post about tattoo artists and aestheticians donating their plastic gloves to hospitals while their businesses are shut down. Other members posted that they had unused baby diapers and food items available for those in need.
James Shea, 37, an electrician at Commonwealth Energy Group, said they’re keeping the group specific to Lackawanna County. Because of that, a Luzerne County group was created.
They’re encouraging members to drop off items on porches instead of meeting up or giving rides. He also encouraged members to use electronic forms of payment, including Venmo.
“It’s nice to see that other people are willing to help others,” said James Shea. “Hopefully, after this is over, people still help each other, they don’t need to wait for a major problem.”
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