KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — While people are social distancing and avoiding crowds due to COVID-19, neighborhoods are lending a helping hand to those with weak immune systems who may not be able to leave home.
Kindness isn't canceled in the Old North Knoxville Historic District neighborhood. Neighbors are taking the phrase "love thy neighbor" to a whole new level.
Kelly Arsenault is the chairperson for the neighborhood's "Kindness Committee." It's not a new group or new concept, but it's an important one.
"One of our goals is to really try to help neighbors who are in need and we do have those in our neighborhood as well," Arsenault explained.
During this time of uncertainty, the "Kindness Committee" in the district is offering help to those who may not be able to walk out their front door.
"It's something that I don't think any of us in our lifetimes have ever experienced this kind of thing before," Arsenault nodded. "So really trying to just be there for each other and help each other navigate through [is important]."
A Google form created by Arsenault's neighbor Kat allows homeowners in the neighborhood to volunteer help. Then, those who are in need can request it. She got the idea from students at Tuft's University.
"Anything that might be helpful to a neighbor who either can't get out or especially if they can't travel in and expose themselves to areas where there are a lot of people," Arsenault explained.
Volunteers are able to help their neighbors in a variety of ways. Whether that's running errands, picking up groceries, meal prepping or getting assistance in other ways.
"It's a really useful tool to have that know that you can depend on each other to help you out through this time," Arsenault noted.
Not only that, but neighbors are keeping a watchful eye on each other and checking in when they see fit.
"A lot of times even just that person to person trying to reach out and see if they need some help can be really important during a time like this," Arsenault explained.
The committee hopes this idea will carry over into other neighborhoods and encourage kindness during a tough time.
"So really trying to let our neighbors know that we can be there for them, and help each other through, I think it's the best way to get through this together," Arsenault affirmed.
The group and Google Doc is just for members of the neighborhood, but other individuals and businesses have shared online ways you can get help if you are stuck inside.