MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — A trip to the grocery store or pharmacy isn’t as easy as it once was. For senior adults and vulnerable communities, it’s become even more of a challenge.
A group of teenagers in Montgomery County is working to get essentials to those who need them most.
“What about people who don’t have family? What about people who don’t have friends to help them out? That question is what lead to us starting this organization,” said one of the founders of Teens Helping Seniors, Matthew Casertano.
Montgomery Blair High School sophomores Dhruv Pai and Matthew Casertano founded Teens Helping Seniors after they started making essential trips for their grandparents and seniors in their neighborhoods. Back in March, they started recruiting teen volunteers to grow their network.
“People are often quite surprised that us as teenagers are the ones doing these deliveries and helping others. I think sometimes people have a lesser view of teenagers and how they help their community,” said volunteer and Thomas S. Wootton High School junior Jacob Kaplan-Davis.
Pai says he hopes the group’s mission changes public perception of teenagers during the pandemic.
“Students in New York threw parties to catch coronavirus on purpose. This has really portrayed teens in a negative light around the nation, so I think our organization is doing a lot to dispel some of those myths,” said Pai.
Volunteers say delivering groceries and medications to those who can’t shop for themselves has been a heartwarming experience.
“In the face of adversity, being generous is the best thing you can do. It definitely has a reciprocal effect on the way you feel, as well,” said Ria Garg, a sophomore at Winston Churchill High School.
Ria and her twin brother Rohin both volunteer with Teens Helping Seniors.
“We have received overwhelmingly positive responses from seniors in the community,” said Rohin, also a sophomore at Winston Churchill High School.
“I’ve received these really feel good emails from [the seniors.] Just saying how thankful they are, and saying, you know, words aren’t enough,” said Kaplan-Davis.
In just a few short months, the group’s mission has spread and expanded. The teens not only grab groceries for seniors, but also for combat-wounded veterans and those who are immuno-compromised.
The Montgomery County-based group has expanded to other nearby areas like Fairfax County in Virginia, and to other states and even other countries. Teens in Canada have also hopped on board and started a chapter there.
If you know someone who could benefit from a little help from these local teens, you can learn more on the Teens Helping Seniors website or by sending them an email at email@example.com.