A silver lining is appearing amidst the coronavirus crisis: Coronado residents now have a wonderful opportunity to connect with their neighbors. Thanks to concerned citizens, local organizations and the City of Coronado, the new Neighbor to Neighbor (N2N) program is on the fast track for launch.
“Local volunteers – your neighbors – with the support of the City, are undertaking initiatives to get the word out to all our citizens; helping deliver food, medications, and other needs to people needing assistance,” said Blair King, Coronado City Manager, in his weekly update on March 27th.
The program will also provide critical transportation for those in need, and coordinate donations to assist those suffering from severe financial hardship.
As I type, the program’s tireless organizers are busy reaching out to their neighbors, organizing materials and setting standards for success.
“(The program) is built on the idea of neighbors looking out and helping one another,” says King. “With multiple efforts springing up around Coronado immediately after the declaration of a national emergency, a group of citizens asked the City to help with a unified and coordinated effort.”
The City of Coronado, along with key community members, is working hard to establish “block captains” for every city block, according to local Amy Steward, who helped organize the program, along with her husband, Dan’l. Block captains are responsible for establishing daily “check ins” with their neighbors, making sure everyone is OK, determining if help is needed, and connecting with resources to help.
MAP IMAGE UPDATED April 15
“It’s important to know your neighbors,” says Amy. “Coronado is the perfect town to make this happen. We all know things are going to get worse. We need each other.”
According to Georgia Ferrell, Executive Director of Coronado SAFE, it’s important to make sure that no one slips through the cracks—especially those who live alone, or do not actively use social media.
“I’m passionate about the N2N program because though we may be ‘physically’ distancing, we need to continue to build connections with one another,” says Georgia. “Humans are social beings that need one another. Healthy connection starts in our own homes, our own neighborhood, then in the greater community.”
Georgia, along with Amy, hope their efforts will result in an enduring program, so when the next emergency arises, neighbors are already connected.
“Focusing on what we have control over is key right now,” says Georgia. “Additionally, the relationships that we can build with our neighbors today can last long after Covid-19 passes. We are all stronger together.”
So far, the community response to the new program has been terrific.
“People really want to help,” says Amy. “I can’t tell you the gratitude I feel for this community.”
The N2N program is entirely voluntary and run by volunteers. If you do not receive information and want to participate, send an email to CoronadoN2N@gmail.com, or contact the Coronado call center at 619-522-6380. Residents are also invited to check out the interactive map which shows which blocks still need captains.
“While I know this is going to get worse before it gets better, I am still optimistic,” says Amy. “I will always remember the willingness of this community to step up and help their neighbors. I think Mr. Rogers would be very proud.”