The idea for the Project Support Initiative began when Akshath Mahajan, then an intern, volunteered to drop off some groceries.
“I was talking to my research mentor one day in the lab, and he was telling me about how he was scared to go the grocery store because his wife was a three-time cancer survivor, so she is definitely very immunocompromised,” Mahajan said. “I was free that day, so I was like, ‘I can drive and get your groceries if you want.’”
From there the Rock Ridge High School student got a few of his friends together to help out delivering groceries for people who don’t want to head to the store amid the COVID-19 pandemic, word got around—and now Project Support has around 150 volunteers in 21 chapters across the country.
“We’ve gone pretty big pretty fast,” Mahajan said.
When someone asks for help, the local coordinator puts out the call for volunteers. When a one steps up, they contact the person asking for help to get their grocery list, pick up those groceries, and make sure their shopping list was right. Then, clients pay them back for the groceries on apps like the Cash App or Venmo, the volunteer leaves the bags for a contactless delivery, and then watches from the car to make sure the client picks them up.
All that shopping and delivering is done while masked up and taking precautions to hinder the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.
And as of Friday, Mahajan said, volunteers have made around 450 such deliveries.
“I didn’t really think I was going to grow it,” Mahajan said. “… then more friends wanted to join.”
For more information, to volunteer, or to ask for a delivery, email@example.com.