When the coronavirus outbreak began, DANIEL GOLDBERG was a high school junior in Santa Barbara, California. Schools were closed, and he was at home, sheltering in place. One morning, he watched his father, an emergency room doctor, leaving for work. “He was putting himself on the front line to help others, and that made me think that there had to be something I could do to help. That’s when I realized we had no system in place to get food to the elderly or immunocompromised.”
So on March 18, 2020, Daniel created ZOOMERS TO BOOMERS (“Zoomers” were born between 1995 and 2015, and “Boomers” between 1944 and 1964). The nonprofit organization delivers groceries to people who are at high risk for serious consequences if they contract the virus, like cancer patients and the elderly. There is no delivery fee, and any tips go to local charities. Daniel set up a website to collect requests for assistance. “Initially,” he says, “my friends and I were making 10-12 deliveries a day, which was manageable.” But then things took off. Zoomers to Boomers got some press coverage, and Daniel began receiving about 100 requests a day. He enlisted local grocery stores and vendors to accept people’s phone orders and their on-line payments. Zoomers did the pickups and deliveries.
MEGAN LEONG, a teenager who lives in San Jose, heard about Zoomers to Boomers and started her own branch. More young people have followed suit in Los Angeles, Miami, Honolulu, Salt Lake City, Denver, and other municipalities across the US. Hundreds of Zoomers to Boomers volunteers now risk contracting the virus to go to stores, collect groceries, and make thousands of deliveries to vulnerable people in lockdown. Daniel reports that, “A lot of them are elderly and either widowed at home or isolated with their partner, and they’ve been stuck inside without contact for such a long period of time. . . . We have encountered so many who are alone, frightened, and uncertain about the future.” Daniel is aware of the risks involved. All drivers wear N95 masks and gloves. They advise the Boomers to wash their groceries as soon as they get them. And Daniel collects and shares information about the virus on the Zoomers to Boomers website.
Daniel and his team work 12 hours a day, seven days a week, to manage deliveries—and to work with all the branches that now deliver to Boomers. “I have never worked nearly as hard in anything in my life,” says Daniel, “as I am working right now.”