Stay-at-home order sparks trend of neighborhood helpers online

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a platform where neighbors are used to sharing tips about crime on their block. But if you’ve had a chat with your neighbors lately, you might have noticed a change.

There’s a new trend of helpers taking over the online community, Nextdoor; a stark difference from posts about porch pirates, thieves, and burglars that people are used to sharing on the neighborhood website.

Things are changing during this stay-at-home order, sparked by concerns about spreading the Coronavirus. “I’ve been seeing primarily how people are helping one another,” Ann Rupprecht, a Nextdoor user, told KRQE News 13.

The site now features a ‘Help Map’ and more people are using the website to reach out, and offer a helping hand. “It’s a unique situation where I get to be here all day long,” said Drew Fisher, during an online chat with KRQE using Zoom.

Fisher is now working from home like a lot of people. So he asked his neighbors on Nextdoor if anyone needs help getting groceries, taking trash to the dump, or walking dogs. “I am watching a dog for one of my neighbors who just had a baby, they went into labor yesterday, so congratulations to them,” said Fisher.

To practice social distancing and stay safe, Ann Rupprecht now checks in on elderly neighbors she didn’t know until recently. “They have no family in town and they’re pretty isolated,” Rupprecht said. “So many people do need our assistance right now that can’t get out for themselves.”

She said Nextdoor has been a platform to connect with neighbors who may feel isolated during this statewide stay-at-home order. “I was able to communicate with them and also spend some time with them after I delivered their groceries,” Rupprecht said.

There are people sharing posts about free toilet paper in Little Free Libraries, seamstresses organizing to make masks to donate; more posts with offers to help than this reporter is used to seeing.

Outside, KRQE News 13 spotted people putting up Christmas lights and walking dogs, connecting with one another from a safe distance. It’s a trend neighbors hope will stick around.

“I feel like we’re pretty tight-knit,” Fisher said of his Albuquerque neighborhood. “Everybody could use a little bit more help and feeling like a team, and a community as a whole.”

“It’s so important that we as a community continue being strong, healthy, and supportive, and that we do take care of one another,” Rupprecht added. “Because that’s what life is all about.”

Anyone can sign up to be a neighborhood helper with a free Nextdoor account.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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