“Invisible Hands” – How Young Volunteers Are Helping During COVID-19

Photo posted by @invisiblehandsdeliver on Instagram

Here’s a story that will make you smile. During this global pandemic, people across the world are stepping up to volunteer their time to help others who cannot help themselves.

Liam Elkind, a 20-year-old junior at Yale; and Simone Policano, a 25-year-old Yale graduate and current actor/producer; as well as two other friends, have teamed up to create an organization called “Invisible Hands”.

Based in New York City — which has the most cases of COVID-19 in the United States — this organization has recruited thousands of volunteers to help bring groceries and supplies to people at high-risk of contracting the virus. While the organization is focusing mostly on the disabled, elderly and immunocompromised, they are available to help anyone.

On the website, people can submit a request for medicine, food and supplies that will be shopped for and dropped off with free delivery. Elkind and his friends find volunteers who live nearby and can deliver the goods. The organization is called “Invisible Hands” because they try to make the exchange as “contactless” as possible.

Elkind told Good Morning America about how the process works.

We call ahead and say, ‘Hey, I’m outside the door.’ They can slide their money under the door, and we’ll place the groceries outside the door…These are the most vulnerable members of our community and we want to make sure we’re keeping them safe.

Nevertheless, the organization understands how isolated people feel. On its website, “Invisible Hands” says that people can talk on the phone with their volunteers and even get to know each other a little bit.

In order to ensure that all volunteers are safe and healthy, “Invisible Hands” asks that several different guidelines are followed, such as practicing social distancing and not showing any signs of ill health.

On Laurie Santos’ podcast, “The Happiness Lab,” Elkind explained that he was inspired by a famous class he took at Yale, “The Science of Well-Being,” taught by Santos herself. Elkind learned that one way to increase his happiness would be to help others. So, when he saw Policano’s Facebook post asking what ways young people could help, he immediately reached out. In only a week, the idea went viral, with 5,000 new volunteers and $20,000 raised in donations.

We are all going through our own struggles and worries at the moment, but “Invisible Hands” reminds us how amazing it feels to do something nice for someone else, whether it be simply calling a relative or writing a note to a friend.

Good Morning America talked to Wyatt Hill, a 18-year-old volunteer living in NYC.

I delivered to a woman yesterday, and it was her birthday. Just the smile on her face when I arrived made my day…I’m a senior in high school, and my senior year has pretty much been canceled, which really bums me out, but helping people really does help.


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