Allison McGill is just getting home from dropping off dinner to an elderly neighbor when I get her on the phone. Unable to leave the house for essentials during the COVID-19 outbreak because of her health, the neighbor had been expecting dinner to arrive from a different source, McGill explains to me.
When it did not, the woman’s social worker called McGill. So, McGill and her teenager wiped everything down with sanitizer, put on makeshift masks and brought the woman dinner.
The fact that the case worker knew that McGill had founded a corps of willing DC Coronavirus Volunteers who would get her a meal is testimony to the spirit of community.
McGill is the founder of the DC Coronavirus Volunteers. On March 12, the day after Mayor Bowser declared a Public Health Emergency in the District, McGill tweeted a call asking people who were at risk or vulnerable to the virus to contact her if they needed help. By then, she already begun gathering a list of volunteers willing to help from the Table Church DC (945 G Street NW), where she is Director of Care. By March 25, after having expanded the search through social media and word of mouth, she had a list of more than 2,500.
McGill was unprepared for the response, which flooded in over from all over the DC area. “I had 75 followers on Twitter when this started,” McGill said. “I don’t know how this happened.” There are so many volunteers for the DC Coronavirus Volunteers that they now have a website, hosted by the Table Church, and are calling for more people in need to reach out to them for help.
“I laugh, but it’s actually beautiful,” she said of the outpouring of volunteer support. “It’s one of those sweet moments. It’s just that people actually want to help.”