By GENEVIEVE SHAW BROWN, ABC News
(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) — A group of high schoolers have spent their last few weeks out of school doing good, bringing 2,000 grocery deliveries to the elderly and immunocompromised.
It all started with 17-year-old Danny Goldberg, the son of an emergency room doctor.
“I was sitting at home, isolating myself to slow the spread of the virus, I would watch my dad put on his scrubs and leave for work,” Goldberg, a resident of Santa Barbara, California, told ABC News’ Good Morning America. “He was putting himself on the front line to help others, and that made me think that there had to be something I could do to help. That’s when I realized we had no system in place to get food to the elderly or immunocompromised.”
And with that realization, Zoomers to Boomers was born.
That was just a few short weeks ago. After his idea, Goldberg created a website and posted to the Nextdoor app. That resulted in local media coverage and then social media attention. Immediately came in influx of requests locally and around the country.
The 12 U.S. sites are managed by a director of operations, Goldberg said.
“We help them set up their part of the website and teach them how we’ve done things in Santa Barbara,” he said. “After that, they contact us if they have any challenges, but mostly, they are independent.”
Both zoomers and boomers benefit from the arrangement. “For the zoomers, many of us would otherwise have very little to do, so to have the opportunity to have a positive impact on our community has been really important,” Goldberg explained.
Alexander Wilson, the 17-year-old vice president of operations and director of Zoomer to Boomer’s Santa Barbara branch, agrees.
“The only thing I was certain about was my ability to help,” he told GMA. “When Daniel called me to pitch me the idea I knew in that moment this was exactly the thing I was waiting for, I was going to be able to help people.”
For the boomer there’s the need for food being met. But there’s an emotional component, too.
“We have encountered so many who are alone, frightened and uncertain about the future,” Goldberg said. “We have offered them not only groceries, but hope, and a sense that their community cares for them. I am regularly contacted by some of our elderly clients who are reassured that I am there answering the phone, and available to chat and for support.”
The comments from customers left on the Nextdoor app are filled with gratitude.
“As an aging at-risk individual with two elderly parents in the home it is such a relief to be able to shelter-in-place and not worry about starving to death! Thank you so very much,” wrote one.
“What a caring group of young people. Thank you very much! You will no doubt be hearing from me as I’m part of the population that’s supposed to stay home. This offer is greatly appreciated,” wrote another.
Goldberg said he never anticipated how quickly his idea would take off. In addition to expressing gratitude toward the other zoomers who are working tirelessly, he said there’s a big thanks owed to their parents for “trusting our mission as well.”
And while he said he’s no stranger to hard work, the labor of love that is zoomers to boomers is a heavy load to carry, though one that’s well worth it.
“I have never worked nearly as hard in anything in my life as I am working right now,” he said.
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.