The coronavirus clamp remained strong all over the world as the disease continued to claim more victims. As more and more countries go into lockdowns, people without a source to get the essentials were really affected.
New York has rapidly become a major epicenter for the virus, with hundreds of people testing positive for coronavirus. With millions staying at home, a wide section of the population has used online methods to buy products. But one community in New York was out there to help older generations reach their shopping lists using Slack, the popular messaging app.
‘BedStuyStrong’, an initiative founded by 29-year-old Sarah Mathews uses the messaging application Slack to help individuals in getting their home orders delivered to them. The system starts when any individual posts a request on the #communityneeds channel of the Slack group ‘BedStuyStrong. These orders are then visible to the volunteers in the channel who can purchase the items and then deliver it to the required individual.
What made this initiative so popular was the fact that the cost of the purchases is covered by other members on the platform. The members do not see this as a form of charity but as a form of solidarity in these pressing times. The initiative was called BedStuyStrong because of the focus on the Brooklyn area known as Bedford-Stuyvesant. Mathews was inspired to start the movement to assist a large number of elderly citizens in the 2.6 million-strong population of Brooklyn.
Sources associated with the initiative claimed that they had completed over 70 deliveries with thousands of dollars being donated to the BedStuyStrong Venmo account. Mathews opined that the community’s strength was needed during a time when the Trump presidency provided no respite. She said:
“I thought about the neighborhood as a whole and thought, this may be a time when we don’t get a lot of help from the government. We’re seeing a lot of holes in social safety nets and I just thought we need to organize online just in case there’s a lockdown, and we need to think geographically.”
The BedStuyStrong community consists of software engineers, data scientists and systems engineers who help in streamlining the process of collection and delivery. Volunteers are required to leave the groceries at residences without making any sort of contact. People who traveled abroad recently and those who have flu-like symptoms are also asked to not submit applications.
Stories of BedStuyStrong’s success has spread far and wide with request now coming in from other boroughs and distant addresses. Other movements have also started in separate cities which emulate the same model as the one in Brooklyn. The system also allows the people in it to make use of its services as it believes in a give and take model.