HOUSTON – The coronavirus outbreak has made for challenging times for the elderly and immunocompromised, as many in the Houston-area are finding it difficult to get basic needs like groceries. One local non-profit has made huge strides in helping those in need, getting food deliveries to more than 2,300 local vulnerable people in less than a week.
CrowdSource Rescue, a local non-profit, that once focused solely on natural disaster rescues, has modified its services to help with COVID-19 relief.
“We are used to hurricanes and boats and chainsaws and now we’re a food delivery organization,” said Matthew Marchetti, co-founder of CrowdSource Rescue.
Utilizing the technology they already had and the help of volunteers, the elderly and immunocompromised people in the Houston area can sign up on CrowdSource Rescue to get help. People looking to volunteer can also sign up on the site to help go out and deliver food and groceries.
That is how Elton Rivera got involved. Rivera is now one of CrowdSource Rescue’s most active volunteers. He actually works for Jim Adler & Associates Law Firm, but with the COVID-19 outbreak, he found himself much less busy.
“Most of [my work] was canceled and I thought ‘Man, what am I going to do?’ So, I thought I’d represent my firm and deliver,” Rivera said.
Since CrowdSource Rescue modified their services last week, the group has served thousands of people.
“We’ve done about 2,300 meals with about 500 volunteers,” Marchetti said.
It is a massive effort to help people like Stephanie Peña, who has immunocompromising conditions. Rivera delivered two weeks of groceries to her door, at a safe distance.
“My immune system is very bad. I got septic shock last year, so that’s what the hole in my throat is from — having a trach and being on life support,” Peña said. “I think that they’re providing a great blessing.”
Peña’s growing family needs her and with her immunocompromising condition, she can’t take risks.
“(Getting coronavirus) would probably mean death for me, to be honest with you,” Peña said.
CrowdSource Rescue has now expanded its services once again, to support local businesses by collecting donations and buying and then delivering hot meals, as well.
"It is to ensure that [the local food industry is] able to employ people and able to keep operating," Marchetti said.
For Peña and her family, the non-profit and volunteers have been a blessing.
“It is. It’s very life changing,” Peña said.
“It’s not only delivering food, but it’s delivering a bit of hope. It’s saying, ‘Hey, we might be total strangers, but we love you,’” Marchetti said.
How you can help or get help: www.CrowdSourceRescue.com