The Street Stewards, who were doing community beautification in Ocean and Pacific beaches, Point Loma and now University City, are being re-purposed during the pandemic crisis to aid homebound seniors.
“Many of our neighbors are at-risk for coronavirus and must self-isolate at home, specifically seniors and immunocompromised individuals,” said Aaron Null, founder of the volunteer, nonprofit organization. “It's vitally important we check in on them to make sure their basic needs are getting met during this pandemic.”
Null felt the Street Steward program he started in August 2019 in OB could be the perfect vehicle to help seniors in need.
“I thought it would be a good way to probe neighborhoods to see if we can dig up, and flush out, most of the at-risk people,” he said pointing out he knows, like others, a lot of senior neighbors without having made personal contact. “This could be a good way to talk to them, say hi outside, ask them if they need any help getting groceries or prescriptions,” Null said. “With the stewards, we’re trying to bridge that gap, start that (aid) network.”
So Null created an online form, http://bit.ly/cv-neighbor-support, that stewards can fill out to automatically create an 8.5 by11-inch poster with their contact info/photo to leave at seniors’ doors so they know volunteers are available to help.
“You Just fill out the form and you'll get an email with a PDF poster that you can print and drop at doorsteps while you street clean,” said Null adding, “Maybe we can help someone who feels quite isolated or scared right now.”
Null said there are presently about 175 Street Steward volunteers in both Pacific Beach and Ocean Beach, as well as about 60 more in Point Loma. He said he’s organizing volunteers to add senior errands to their clean-up duties.
“I’ve got about 50 volunteers signed up and ready to go,” he said. “But I’m waiting for things to peak a little more before I roll the program out.”
Null will be messaging stewards to let them know when they can begin canvassing their designated neighborhoods to determine who the people are who are most vulnerable and in need. Then stewards can drop off filled-out forms on their doorsteps telling them they’re available to help.
“We’re hoping, these people (stewards) who are already walking around cleaning up, that they could also just drop off flyers to let people know they want to help, or just check-in to make sure they’re OK,” Null noted.