Invisible Hands, based in New York, needs a magic number of volunteers to open a local chapter.
Invisible Hands, a non-profit organization started at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic by two friends in New York, delivers groceries and other goods to vulnerable members of the community. Now, Ben McColl, a freshman at Michigan State University and a member of Temple Israel, is hoping to expand that outreach to Metro Detroit.
McColl heard about Invisible Hands after watching coverage about it on the news last month. He said he immediately knew he wanted to be a part of them, and went onto their website, got in touch with their expansion team and learned what his next steps would be to bring their mission to his community.
“Right now, we’re in the initial stages of it. We’re trying to recruit a big base of volunteers to the Metro Detroit area,” McColl said. “By doing that, we will be able to develop a reliable, sustainable system in our area that will allow us to launch an official chapter of the Invisible Hands organization here in Michigan.”
Once the chapter here is launched, members of the community who are in need of groceries or other supplies will fill out a delivery form request online. After the form has been submitted, the organization will match requests with a volunteer who lives in the area in which the request was made.
The volunteer will then call and confirm your delivery and ensure that they are shopping at the right store and are picking up the exact items you need. After the order is confirmed, the person who placed the order will coordinate payment through a variety of ways: calling ahead to the grocery store, cash or reimbursing the volunteer through a cash app after the delivery is complete.
All volunteers are required to wear a mask and gloves while shopping, wipe down the grocery bags before delivery and are asked to use self-checkouts if possible.
After the order is fulfilled, the volunteer will drop off all items at the person’s home and ring the doorbell to let them know that their items have arrived. Volunteers are then encouraged to step six feet away to make sure the person gets their order, but to also engage in friendly conversation with them.
McColl needs at least 200 volunteers in order to begin the initiative in Metro Detroit. As of now, they are close to that goal but still need a handful of volunteers. Volunteers can participate in grocery pickups and deliveries, but can also stay at home to handle phone calls and ensure the other volunteers are meeting the needs of the community.
In order to volunteer, members of the community must meet certain criteria. Volunteers can not have traveled out of the country in the past 14 days, are not exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19, have not been around anyone who has tested positive for the disease, are not immunocompromised and have been practicing social distancing.
“This small gesture can go a long way in making someone’s day. Participating in this type of organization can help others in the community that may not be able to do it themselves,” McColl said.
To sign up to volunteer, you can fill out this form.