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The latest updates on the COVID-19 outbreak in South Florida. This page ended its updates as of August 2020. Head here for additional stories on COVID-19 and the pandemic.

Volunteers Do The Shopping For At-Risk Residents In This 'Buddy System'

The Buddy System website
The Buddy System links at risk residents with volunteers.

Cauliflower, broccoli, chicken, eggs, whole milk and dogfood are all things on a normal grocery list.


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Isabella Marie Garcia delivers these items and gets reimbursed all while never coming in contact with the buyer. For older residents and those with weakened immune systems, taking a trip to the supermarket during the coronavirus pandemic can be dangerous. 


Garcia’s buyer has a weakened immune system and is more susceptible to COVID-19. She’s part of The Buddy System, a local network of at-risk residents who need help getting everyday items. 

“We’re using gloves and masks to make sure we don't come in contact or potentially pass on anything we might have germs or anything like that,” Garcia said.

Garcia is a student and has more free time now that she is working from home. For her, helping is being part of the solution.

“I’m not going to stand by and just sit around. It’s important to focus on those who usually get overlooked in our community,” she said.

A list of resources available to South Florida residents during COVID-19 pandemic.

Jessica Gutierrez founded the Buddy System with Kristin Guerin. She says the community support makes her feel less alone. 

Gutierrez is a student and has a background of community organizing, Guerin is an actress from New York. They met one night after a performance and started The Buddy System soon after.

Now the organization has around 200 volunteers operating social media, graphic design and other web design. They also share resources with at risk communities and have partnered with 

The Buddy System has around 30 volunteers delivering groceries in South Florida and is branching out to Palm Beach County this week.

“We have a lot of folks ready to work,” said Guerin

If you need help getting groceries or would like to volunteer visit BuddysystemMIA.com

Gerard Albert III covers Broward County. He is a former WLRN intern who graduated from Florida International University. He can be reached atgalbert@wlrnnews.org
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