Before COVID-19, BYU biology student John S. Lindsay (’21) had already been pushing through bouts of mental struggles. He’d found that service helped him manage his mental health, but as the world closed off under coronavirus restrictions, that outlet disappeared.
After Googling COVID-related service opportunities, Lindsay came across a much-needed spark: a BBC news story about UK teens delivering groceries to the elderly.
From his off-campus BYU apartment, where he has been riding out the pandemic, Lindsay sent out a stream of text messages to family and friends, gauging interest. His cousin Andrew K. Lindsay (BS ’16) and friend Cassidy L. Shively (BA ’20) were the first to respond and form a team. Since March they’ve expanded the service through the United Way, local media, and even grassroots outreach with fliers, growing the team to more than 200 volunteers.
“I want people who are on the fence of whether they should go out to know they can stay home,” says Lindsay, whose Utah Valley COVID-19 Response Team serves residents in both Utah and Salt Lake Counties.
While many grocery stores offer delivery services, “a lot of those [stores] are pretty overwhelmed,” says Lindsay. As part of their delivery, his volunteers wipe down groceries with Clorox wipes and follow strict CDC guidelines. They also work with local food pantries and have raised donations to cover expenses for those in need.
“We’re young. We’re healthy. This is what we can do,” says Lindsay, renewed by his delivery efforts. “We’ve spent hundreds of hours on this. To see it grow, to see people reach out . . . , it’s helped me to see the goodness, and things like that helped me mentally.”