Neighbors That Care, a resident-driven initiative in Pleasant Ridge that provides food baskets and other aid to the region’s COVID-19 first responders, is seeking to inspire a nationwide effort.
The organization partnered with the Pleasant Ridge Foundation and now is reaching out to communities across the country.
“There are people in our community that are putting their lives at risk every day on the front lines of the battle to defeat the coronavirus,” says Paul A. Eisenstein, one of the founders of Neighbors That Care and a freelance writer for DBusiness and Hour Detroit magazines. “Whether they work in hospitals or nursing homes, drive ambulances, or keep our streets safe, we want to help these first responders and let them know their neighbors understand that they are putting their lives on the line for us.”
Communities that want to establish their own Neighbors That Care local programs can receive guidance from the organization. The programs can include meal and food basket deliveries or address basic service needs such as lawn care.
Neighbors That Care was launched in Pleasant Ridge — the hometown of Eisenstein and the other founders — to provide support for the more than 100 first responders who live in the city. Those first responders include doctors, nurses, police officers, and others on the frontlines of protecting the community from the virus.
To date, the organization’s efforts have included the production and delivery of dozens of care packages filled with food and essentials that are prepared at a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-certified kitchen.
“Neighbors That Care is about so much more than our square mile suburb,” says Jennifer Quenville, co-founder of the organization. “Our goal is to assist and inspire community groups across the U.S. to set up similar programs to help their own first responders.”
The organization continues to track other community efforts and resources and makes them available on their website for first responders and their families. The list covers meal programs, access to medical supplies, clothing donations, and home services such as lawn care, oil changes, and financial and legal services.
The Neighbors That Care program can be adopted by any community-based organization or group, civic or fraternal club, or scout troop. Communities interested in starting a local effort can find more information here.