Paul Middendorf is on a mission: one bag of groceries at a time. You don't ever want to see someone in need not get what they need. A few times a week since mid-March, Middendorf has been volunteering for Houston Texas based crowdsource rescue, a web-based site that has been connecting more than 1500 volunteers with people in need. He picks up groceries from a food distribution site and delivers them to some of the most vulnerable people in the community. Most of our people that were delivering to are above the age of 65. They're scared. It is a scary time.I had to close my business. The quarantine for anyone is is dreadful, you know. When you live by yourself and it's a lot. Forman Dorf volunteering is therapy. Having the ability to be helping and not just sitting idle. To not feel like time is just totally standing still. It's beneficial. Being able to help contribute to my community,we get pride from that too. You know, knowing that, you know someone can eat for the next two weeks.
The volunteer organization launched in 2017 when hurricane Harvey flooded Houston overwhelming first responders. A software developer built an online mapping tool to connect people trapped in their homes with volunteers who could help. In the interim, crowdsource rescue has connected volunteers to victims of other natural disasters in the US. Now it has retooled things to connect the needy with delivery drivers during the Covid 19 crisis. Even as we do slowly open back up,some individuals that doesn't mean that they'll necessarily get their job hours back or get other jobs will return. We think the demand will still increase and there will still be a need for direct deliveries to clients. Crowdsource rescue volunteer operations director, Lor Dykes,doesn't even live in Houston. She is hundreds of kilometres away near the Texas-Mexico border. She says delivery drivers depend on volunteer dispatchers for a list of people who need food. There are always, always people out there who want to help. Like Middendorf, who is seeing a lot of good come out of a tough situation. There's been some people that I've dropped off to that have sent me messages after I left. That were was so heart-wrenching and but heartwarming at the same time. Because they had not had food and in days. These trips have become more than just a food service. Volunteers are delivering hope, one box at a time. Elizabeth Lee VOA news
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