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Shepherdstown Shares: Facebook page continues to strengthen community
March 20, 2020

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SHEPHERDSTOWN -- There are those faces of people who can be seen all around town. Those people, who are at every community event, often running them. While those indefatigable people are essential parts of the clock that makes Shepherdstown tick, many of them have had to go into social isolation, to protect themselves during the 2019 novel coronavirus pandemic.

Shepherdstown Visitors Center Director Marianne Davis is one of those many people, whose asthma and age puts her at-risk for contracting COVID-19 and developing its severe symptoms, if she is exposed to the disease. Others within the same group of high-risk individuals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are people 60-and-older and people with medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease or lung disease.

Although Davis has been doing her best to avoid coming in contact with the virus, she has remained active in her work at the SVC, as well as with the community group Shepherdstown Shares. The group, which was originally organized via a Facebook page by the same name to deal with the 2019 government shutdown, has now been repurposed to help community members deal with the needs arising from the pandemic.

"This is a very different crisis, for many reasons," Davis said on Tuesday afternoon. "We knew that the government shutdown would end. On this one, we can't be even 20-percent sure when this will end."

According to Davis, some of the original Shepherdstown Shares members contacted each other a couple of weeks ago, when they realized the pandemic would create some areas of need.

"Instead of rushing off into 11 different directions, we took the time two weeks ago, to plan out who we would be working with and the scope of our operations, which I think is critical to our success," Davis said. "We identified three groups that we needed to focus on: hungry children, elderly and chronically ill people and vulnerable workers and businesses."

According to Davis, the vulnerable workers and businesses have been helped by the president's decision to provide relief money to people in need because of the pandemic. Shepherdstown Shares' Facebook site is also helping local businesses by publicizing which restaurants are selling take-out food.

The hungry children are also being helped, through food from the Kidz Power Pacs program being distributed by school staff members.

The final group identified by Shepherdstown Shares has taken a little more effort, as it required the most coordination activity.

"We are developing a network of young, healthy, non-smoking volunteers (because smokers are at high-risk) to replace Good Shepherd Interfaith Caregivers' older volunteers," Davis said, mentioning this group is currently 20-strong. "Secondly, we are going to support the entire community, no matter their age or health status, by having our volunteers making deliveries of groceries to everyone. A lot of people are going to want to shelter in place, and we want to help them."

According to Davis, the groceries will be ordered from a local grocery store Shepherdstown Shares has coordinated with, and be transported by a volunteer from the store to the front porch of the person who ordered the groceries, "to minimize transmission risks."

Although socially isolated people may be unable to run around town like they were before the pandemic, they can still remain active in the community, by helping with Shepherdstown Shares' Anti-Loneliness Campaign.

"The Anti-Loneliness Campaign will be a way for our older volunteers to call up those who are locked up," Davis said, mentioning volunteers will be given the phone numbers of people who are socially isolated, to do daily wellness checks. "One of the things about doing social isolation, is that it can be lonely. So this is a way that we can, 'A,' make sure we're all okay, and, 'B,' make sure we don't all lose our minds!

"If you need a little help from your community, or even if you don't need help, but just think it would be nice, contact us!" Davis said.

To learn more, visit the group's Facebook page or call the SVC at 304-876-2786.

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