Throughout this month, HandsOn Suburban Chicago (HOSC) will be highlighting the altruism the pandemic has inspired by getting to know people who acted on our website’s opportunities to be essential. If you would like to tell your story of volunteering during the novel coronavirus crisis, please email it to email@example.com.
Meet Meal Delivery Volunteer Liz Linden
Jess Park, director of school programs, recently corresponded with Palatine resident, special education teacher, and former CHiL staff member Liz Linden to discuss her volunteering as a meal delivery driver.
Jess Park: In a few sentences, please introduce yourself to our readers.
Liz Linden: Hello. My name is Liz Linden, and I live in Palatine. I am a middle school special education teacher. I’m married to a very kind, Swedish man named Anders. We have a blended family with three grown children. In our house, it is just me, our dog Charlie, and my husband. In my free time, I like to draw, chase my dog around the house, and watch my favorite show The Office.
JP: How has the pandemic affected your worldview and life?
LL: This pandemic has affected my worldview in a couple of profound ways. While I am educating myself more about the connection between this pandemic and the lagging global efforts to address climate change and wildlife trade, I am more fearful of our planet’s future. However, I am hopeful that all of us will take this time to educate ourselves on these topics, so we can prevent something like this from happening again.
I also am so grateful for my husband and my family. We support each other in so many ways every day. I get to talk to my son and Stewie, my brother with autism, every day. This was something I wasn’t able to do in the past.
I am also learning to live more in the moment, which has always been a struggle for me. I am also convinced now more than ever that there needs to be more happy-story reporting like John Krasinski’s Some Good News.
JP: Where do you volunteer?
LL: Hanul Family Alliance [Originally founded as a senior center for Korean immigrants, the Hanul Family Alliance now provides social services to an ever-changing immigrant population of wide-ranging ages and ethnicities.]
JP: Tell us about your experience volunteering during this crisis.
LL: I am delivering food packages to senior citizens. I pick up the food at the Hanul location in Mount Prospect and deliver to three families twice a week. I have had very limited to no contact with the seniors I am helping. I just knock on the door, leave the food outside the apartment, and then take a photo to verify that I have left the food outside their door.
JP: What have you learned by volunteering at this time?
LL: I have learned that regular people can mobilize quickly for the common good. I am impressed every time I drive up to Hanul Family Alliance. There are a few ladies working/volunteering there, making the food. They are doing a great job of making everything very sanitary. Everyone is wearing gloves and masks. They really care about their clients, and they are extremely organized. When I arrive at my pick-up time, they are expecting me. Everything is ready, boxed, and labelled. It’s really impressive given there are several other people volunteering in shifts, one after another.
JP: Why did you decide to volunteer?
LL: Governor J.B. Pritzker announced on TV he was looking for volunteers. I looked at the government website, found HOSC, and then signed up. I wanted to do something that could help somebody. I was glad this opportunity came up.
JP: What has been the best part of volunteering so far?
LL: The best part is just knowing that people who are hungry and can’t afford to eat are able to get food. Although I can’t afford to buy it for them, I can give my time and the little gas money it takes to deliver it. It’s the least I can do in this situation. I wish I could do more.
JP: What would you say to people who are thinking about volunteering but are afraid of getting sick?
LL: I would say that it is definitely a personal decision. I did not cave into any type of social pressure. It was something I wanted to do before I heard of the government website.
If volunteering in person is not possible for you, there are volunteer duties you can do at home. If you can sew, organizations are looking for people to make masks. You are also helping to flatten the curve by following the stay-at-home order.
JP: What are your favorite quarantine activities?
LL: Although I love watching comedies, because it is a great distraction, my favorite quarantine activities are drawing and painting. I definitely lose myself when I’m creating something. I like to draw/paint animals and sunsets or anything really colorful. I also enjoy listening to my husband play the piano.
So many of us are in need in so many different ways, and the only way to overcome this crisis is together. Join Liz in catalyzing the power of collective responsibility by signing up for an urgent opportunity today.
If you enjoyed what you read, please leave us a $5 tip. Your donation is essential to the survival of HOSC, which amplifies the reach of local disaster volunteerism efforts while providing long-term K-12 education and aging-at-home services to those most in need.
- Choosing to #BeEssential: An Interview with a Self-Directed Volunteer and Donor - April 21, 2020
- #BeEssential: 3 Ways You Can Address the Societal Ills Exposed by the Coronavirus - April 14, 2020
- Choosing to #BeEssential: An Interview with a Volunteer Tackling Hunger During the COVID-19 Pandemic - April 7, 2020