Mayor Walsh on April 18 announced a partnership with the Department of Neighborhood Development (DND), the Age Strong Commission, and Nesterly, on a platform called Good Neighbors, which pairs seniors with volunteers to help with tasks like food deliveries.
Nesterly is a platform for intergenerational housing, where older people can house students looking for an affordable place to live in spare bedrooms. But Mayor Walsh said at a press on Sunday that because of COVID-19, now is not a good time to continue that program, so Good Neighbors was created to continue to provide people with that intergenerational relationship in a safe way.
“We are seeing the best of Boston with residents looking for ways to volunteer and support those in need,” Mayor Walsh said in a statement. “This new volunteer platform will help organize and activate volunteers looking to help seniors who need things like groceries, medication, or just a good old fashioned phone call check-in.”
“The City of Boston has received an overwhelming amount of outreach from older adults in need of services such as home-deliveries and social support as well as, from volunteers looking to assist with daily tasks,” according to a statement from Nesterly. “However, managing these volunteers and matching them with at-risk individuals had become a larger undertaking.”
According to the City, through Good Neighbors, an older Boston resident can submit a request for delivery of groceries, a prepared meal, a wellness check-in call, or a written correspondence via phone, online, or email. Volunteers must go through a background check and are given guidance for things like personal protective equipment (PPE) and other safety measures when making deliveries.
Once a request is submitted, Good Neighbors will find a volunteer compatible with each request, and the volunteer will contact the person directly to set up a time for the check-in or delivery.
The Good Neighbors site, nesterlygoodneighbors.com, is avaialbe in more than 80 languages. Requests can be set up on that website, or by phone at (877) 958-8785. A request can also be submitted on behalf of someone else. Volunteers who deliver groceries can either be reimbursed for them with cash, a check, or a service like Venmo or Paypal, or orders can be paid for over the phone ahead of time, according to Nesterly.
“At a time like this, we are especially grateful for the responsive and innovative team at the City of Boston, in particular the Department of Neighborhood Development, Age Strong, and MONUM, who partnered with us to build Good Neighbors, a timely and much-needed platform,” said Noelle Marcus, Founder and CEO of Nesterly in a release from the City. “We are proud to continue to connect generations and shine light on the incredible generosity and resiliency of our communities.”