How Nextdoor is inspiring neighbors helping neighbors in a time of crisis

The social networking platform “Nextdoor” is playing a key role in keeping people connected during this time of social distancing.

Since the start of the stay at home order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, posts from volunteers are popping up on Nextdoor across the Bay Area, offering to help anyone in need.

Mia Ludovico of San Francisco made a post offering to run to the grocery store for senior citizens.

“I’ve seen people offering to walk dogs, make phone calls with people who might be feeling lonely, make grocery runs and pharmacy runs,” she said.

Ludovico was inspired help after she saw a post on Twitter about an elderly couple who waited outside a grocery store and asked someone to buy their groceries for them. The couple was afraid of going inside the store and possibly contracting the virus.

“I realized that not everybody is so lucky to feel like they'll be able to go to the grocery store and go grocery shopping,” Ludovico said. “I figured I'd reach out to neighbors to see if they need any help.”

Nextdoor said it is inspired by posts of kindness and neighbors helping neighbors. The social networking site, based in San Francisco, has launched new features like a Help Map, where people can mark themselves as someone can pitch in for neighbors who need it. They’ve also launched Nextdoor Groups, a feature for people to communicate about topics and organize ways to help each other.

Becky Wu of Fremont joined forces with two women she connected with on Nextdoor to create Covid Connect. She said it’s a support group for volunteers in the Fremont/Newark area.

“They can help cook food, or help kids that are out of school, maybe with lunches,” Wu said. “We’re planning to start virtual conferences, Skype and Zoom sessions with seniors, so they won’t feel as lonely.”

Wu said the group is brainstorming ways to meet up with seniors who are not on social media.

“During this time I think it's a really, really great platform for people to get together and help each other out and provide support,” she said.

In March, Nextdoor’s engagement has grown, with daily active members increasing worldwide more than 80% month over month.

“The time for joining Nextdoor is now, when the power of proximity means everything,” Nextdoor CEO Sarah Friar said. “Nextdoor was built to bring neighbors together—this is important in good times and essential in times of need. People across the globe are reaching out to their neighbors on Nextdoor with kindness and offers of help.”

Ludovico started using Nextdoor a few months ago and said it’s heartwarming to see how people are willing to help.

“It's definitely been really cool to see how close a community can get while remaining distant from each other during such a terrible pandemic,” she said.

Proof we need each other, even if we must stay apart.