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Maryland volunteers needed to expand Shopping Angels free delivery service for virus-vulnerable

Shopping Angels is a volunteer organization that makes free deliveries of groceries and other essentials to people who are more vulnerable to contracting a serious illness from the novel coronavirus. Their Maryland chapter is seeking volunteers.

Shopping Angels was founded in March by a pre-med student at the University of Nevada, Reno named Jayde Powell. She wanted to serve those who are at high-risk including people 60+ years of age, parents of young infants, or those who have heart, lung, or immune conditions. There are now volunteers in all 50 U.S. states as well as Australia and Canada.

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The Maryland chapter was formed in March and now has about 27 volunteers.

“The organization was founded with the intent to help ease the uncertainty, anxiety, and fear surrounding this pandemic by personally delivering groceries to those who may prefer to stay within the safety of their own home at no additional cost,” Community Relations Coordinator Krithi Sriram wrote in an email.

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Clients pay only for the cost of the items. They are not charged for gas money, tips, or delivery fees. Volunteers delivery the items to their doorstep.

Maryland volunteer Kashmira Patel recently completed her first grocery delivery, shopping for a family in the Frederick area who had tested positive for COVID-19. She got connected with her clients and they decided on the best day to deliver their items. A sponsor paid for the groceries.

Though there are other options for grocery delivery, Patel said she likes the personal touch of Shopping Angels. For her, there was a feeling of achievement when she made her first delivery.

She was motivated to volunteer to help people affected by the virus and others. She said, “There are so many people who are really struggling to get out of the house and get their own groceries, whether that’s because of their age or other restrictions that they may have ... pandemic or no pandemic, there’s a group of people who could really use help.”

Potential volunteers can earn their wings as a shopping angel by registering at www.ShoppingAngelsGlobal.org or emailing shoppingangelsMD@gmail.com to get a registration form.

Volunteers must be at least 18 unless they are volunteering with a parent or guardian. Volunteers cannot have tested positive for COVID-19, traveled outside of the country in the last 14 days, or display any symptoms of illness like fever, cough or difficulty breathing. Volunteers must practice social distancing, hand hygiene and wear a face covering when carrying out deliveries.

The group is working toward 501(c)(3) and hope to be able service learning hours to volunteers who are students.

For those who want to receive services from Shopping Angels, there is a sign-up on the website www.ShoppingAngelsGlobal.org. Clients can request services through a Google doc under the section titled “Request Services.” Clients can also request services by emailing shoppingangelsMD@gmail.com to get a registration form.

The coordinator for Maryland will pair a volunteer with the client and the volunteer will reach out to discuss delivery details, the list of items, a budget, and delivery date and time.

“We don’t screen applications for any specifications; we provide services for anyone who requests them,” Sriram wrote.

More information and a link to make donations can be found at shoppingangelsglobal.org. More information about the Maryland chapter s available on their Facebook page at “Shopping Angels Maryland.”

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