Shana Jones found the strength to help others in her community after going through unimaginable loss

By Jason Duaine Hahn
April 24, 2020 03:30 PM
Credit: Courtesy Shana Jones

A Missouri woman experiencing an unimaginable loss is now helping her community find relief during the coronavirus pandemic.

In just a matter of weeks, mom Shana Jones heartbreakingly lost eight of her friends and relatives in Albany, Georgia, due to complications from coronavirus, she explained to CNN this week.

“I cried and I felt weak,” the 42-year-old told the outlet. “It just became so overwhelming that I became numb.”

Jones first lost her aunt and uncle, then four of her cousins, to coronavirus in late March. These losses were followed by the deaths of a family friend and a beloved church member, who were both diagnosed with the deadly disease. Because of social distancing precautions, Jones will not be able to attend any of their funerals.

But as she entered the next phase of her mourning, Jones set out to do something productive for her community. She began putting a collection of tables on her front lawn, each one full of food and supplies for anyone to take — free of charge.

“I’m seeing people from all over St. Louis, not just in my neighborhood, stopping by the house,” she said of the response to her efforts.

Shana Jones’ free supplies
| Credit: Courtesy Shana Jones

Jones’ tables are set up from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, and they include paper products, snacks, canned goods and cleaning supplies — many things that a struggling family may have a hard time affording if they have fallen on hard times during the outbreak.

While she has paid for many of the products herself, Jones has been unable to work during the pandemic due to her own health problems. According to KTVI, Jones has struggled with lupus, high blood pressure and diabetes.

“I cannot go out because I’m high risk,” Jones, who is a mother to an 18-year-old son and is adopting two other children, told the station. “I still wanted to help my community be involved.”

But dozens of her neighbors have pitched in to help keep the tables stocked with supplies, and it has now become a community-wide effort.

Shana Jones’ free supplies
| Credit: Courtesy Shana Jones

By helping others, Jones — who is accepting donations to support her efforts via the Venmo username Shana-Jones-42 — says she has been able to concentrate on something other than the loss of her friends and family members.

“I’m doing this to take it off my mind,” she told CNN.

Jones and her kind-hearted actions have meant so much to those in her neighborhood that she has received many notes from people wishing to express their appreciation.

“Every time I get a note,” Jones told CNN, “I feel that the angel of one of my family members or friends is saying, ‘Well done.’ ”

As of Friday afternoon, 21,220 cases and 882 deaths have been attributed to the virus in Georgia, while the U.S. has 883,009 cases and 45,268 deaths, according to the New York Times.

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