Mashpee volunteer group pitching in to help where they can during crisis

MASHPEE, Mass. — A Mashpee woman is putting the ‘social’ in social media during this global health crisis.

She had the idea to start a network of helpers on a Facebook page for town residents, now dozens of people are lining up to help shut-ins and the elderly so these vulnerable groups can minimize their risk of being exposed to the coronavirus.

Cathy Joyce, a former fire fighter who now volunteers at the town’s senior center, went on the Mashpee message board offering free help.

“It was just kind of a whim of an idea," she said.

Her offer to grocery shop, run to the pharmacy, or provide a hot meal struck a chord in the community.

“I kind of looked forward and said if this hits the fan, these people are going to need help," she said. "So, I put it out there. Anybody want to do this?”

Senior citizens are considered the most susceptible to COVID-19 and many are put off by the crowds flooding stores. Shut-ins are in a pinch as some grocery delivery services have been curtailed or simply inundated with orders.

MORE: Weymouth man sets up free “pop-up pantry” for seniors amid coronavirus outbreak

Joyce recently helped an 80-year-old woman get much needed supplies.

“She tried to pay me. She tried to tip me, and I am like, ‘no we have volunteers. We’re volunteering our time,’” Joyce said.

Mashpee residents clearly want to help. So far, more than two dozen people said they want to volunteer.

“People are like, ‘count me in. I’m in. Ditto,’” explained Joyce. “It’s a nice little town we live in. Everyone was enthusiastic. Sad, but enthusiastic to help.”

While Joyce is happy she found a way to help, she knows being able to do something for others is lifting her spirits as well.

“It alleviates my stress and maybe some of the other volunteers’ stress. I mean we don’t feel guilty sitting on our butts,” said Joyce. “We’re doing what we can.”

Joyce was recently contacted by someone in Falmouth about having some of the Mashpee volunteers pitch in with the distribution of meals for school kids.

As you might imagine, Joyce said yes. Details are in the process of being worked out.

If you think you could use some assistance from the Mashpee Elves, they’d like to hear from you. You can reach them at 1-774-573-5875.

MORE: Coronavirus live blog: 38 new COVID-19 cases brings state total to 256; Day cares in Mass. to close by Monday