Few things make me feel better right now than having a socially distanced “playdate” with a family member or friend. Sometimes I bring a chair to their driveway, or we take a bike ride, or we sit together in a local park and catch up. It’s the best feeling!
But what happens when you live alone and are at elevated risk for the virus? That was Cheryl’s story.
“Most of my friends have husbands and children who keep them busy. I live alone and have very little family. For me, One Good Deed has truly been a gift that has greatly enhanced my life. Now, I have someone to talk to by phone,” she told me.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Jewish Atlanta has done far more than simply raise money, it has raised spirits. One Good Deed’s Friendly Phone Visitor Program (from Jewish Family & Career Services) is a tremendous example of doing just that.
Cheryl was matched with a 26-year-old volunteer named Lexie. They had an immediate rapport and have become great friends. Their age difference only enhances the relationship. Cheryl has the life experience to give Lexie sage advice, and Lexie helps Cheryl stay current and connected with her generation.
“I love being matched up with Cheryl. Pre-COVID we had a great time shopping and exploring restaurants around Brookhaven. We still talk multiple times a day and I can’t wait to take her out after the virus is gone. I do miss seeing her, but phone calls are always nice,” says Lexie.
Since the pandemic started, Cheryl had another telephone friend named Jane. Although they have not been able to get together in-person, their conversations mean the world to Cheryl. “Jane is a good cook, and we love talking about one of my favorite interests — food! I’m hoping to meet Jane face to face and share a lunch together when the pandemic is under control,” Cheryl said.
The pandemic has shown all of us how debilitating loneliness can be, and that even a short conversation has the power to lift the heart. Thanks to organizations like One Good Deed, a new friend can be just a phone call away. I am moved by all the ways our community is reaching out to build human connections — Repair the Moment’s virtual visiting, JF&CS grocery delivery program, and AgeWell’s Atlanta’s virtual programming for older adults are great examples. It makes me so proud to see these mitzvahs happening everywhere!
If you or someone you know would love to be matched with a Friendly Phone Visitor, contact One Good Deed at 770-677-9489.