Becky Hoeffler is making sure someone is helping those who are most vulnerable during the coronavirus threat

By Jason Duaine Hahn
March 16, 2020 03:00 PM
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A North Carolina woman is going above and beyond to help her elderly neighbors, who are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus threat unfurling around the country.

According to the CDC, older adults are more at risk of suffering serious symptoms from coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, and are advised to stay indoors and avoid crowded places to reduce their exposure during the outbreak.

That’s why Becky Hoeffler has been helping her older neighbors with their groceries after she and her Duke University coworkers were recently asked to work from home, she told WNCN.

“The idea actually came about when I called my grandfather the other day,” Hoeffler told the news station. “He told me, ‘I’m on my way to the grocery store,’ and I was just kind of concerned because he’s 91 and I thought, ‘Is there a reason you have to go to the grocery store?’ ”

Hoeffler was immediately concerned about the risks her grandfather was taking by going to the crowded grocery store. But she also thought of all the other elderly adults in her Durham community who were likely considering taking the same chances.

“That’s what made me think, maybe I can go grocery shopping for others since I do live in a community that has several senior citizen neighbors,” she recalled to the outlet.

Hoeffler soon put a flyer up in her neighborhood to let her neighbors know she was willing to go grocery shopping for them, free of charge, so they could remain safe at home. Not long after, some began taking her up on the offer.

“Am I excited that I’m probably going to get a sweet loaf of banana bread from my neighbor, Patti, because of this? Yes,” Hoeffler told WNCN.

“Either way though, I think being able to help people and being able to help your neighbor is one of the most American things that you can do,” she continued. “I think utilizing people power is one of the best ways that we can combat the virus.”

As of Monday afternoon, the coronavirus has sickened more than 173,800 people around the world, causing more than 7,281 deaths, according to the New York Times.

The U.S. has seen 3,927 cases and 68 deaths, and instances of newly infected people are increasing day by day.

Americans are encouraged to follow protocols outlined by the CDC, which include washing their hands for at least 20 seconds and social distancing, to help contain the spread of the virus.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.