The City of Boston and the homesharing company Nesterly recently launched the “Good Neighbors” program, a platform that connects volunteers with senior citizens confined to their homes during the COVID-19 outbreak.
For no charge, seniors can request for a “good neighbor” to help with home deliveries and daily tasks. The requesters can also ask for a check-in phone call, letter, or postcard akin to a pen-pal system. Each seniors’ request is sent to volunteers in the vicinity via text.
The program was inspired by an influx of eager residents who have asked the city how they can step up amid the pandemic. The resulting initiative is a collaboration between three city departments — the Department of Neighborhood Development, Age Strong, and the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics — and Nesterly, a company that already connects older empty-nesters with young people looking for affordable housing.
“We are seeing the best of Boston with residents looking for ways to volunteer and support those in need,” said Mayor Marty Walsh in a statement. “This new volunteer platform will help organize and activate volunteers looking to help seniors who need things like groceries, medication, or just a good old-fashioned phone call check-in.”
Since launching last weekend, “hundreds of volunteers have signed up, and dozens of requests fulfilled already,” said Nesterly founder and CEO Noelle Marcus in an e-mail.
Seniors (or their friends and family) can put in the request by calling 877-958-8785 or by filling out a online form. The “Good Neighbor” website (nesterygoodneighbors.com) is available in more than 80 languages.
Diti Kohli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @ditikohli_.