Sharing is caring, and many Southwest Valley residents have turned increasingly to social media to get the word out about what’s on store shelves and other resources as COVID-19 fears continue to disrupt normal routines.
Michele Butler Young, a busy mom of five who lives in Goodyear, created West Valley Connect, a private Facebook group where members living in Avondale, Buckeye, Glendale, Goodyear, Surprise, Tolleson, Tonopah and other West Valley communities can share resources.
“I was seeing so many posts by friends each day asking where they could find certain items,” Ms. Young said Monday, March 24 via Facebook Messenger. “I also became aware quickly about the tension of waiting in long lines and driving from store to store. I just wanted to connect people so that we can help each other.”
Ms. Young created the group March 18 and began inviting friends from Goodyear. They invited friends, and so on.
“It’s been growing daily, which I love to see!” she said. As of 1 p.m. Monday, membership was closing in on 300.
The group is strictly for neighbors helping neighbors. “Community resources and helping one another only, no other posts about COVID-19 here,” Ms. Young wrote in the group description. “We are just working together to keep our families healthy and safe, not trying to make predictions about the virus or talk politics. There are other groups for that.”
On any given day, members share information like, “Just left Walmart on 303 and Waddell. They have milk, eggs, toilet paper, some pastas and lots of bread.”
They also update each others’ posts throughout the day. When Ms. Young asked what the lines at Sam’s Club and Costco looked like Monday morning and whether shelves were bare, members responded quickly.
“I saw Channel 10 this morning doing a clip from there (99th Ave) this morning. People wrapped around the building. Was a couple hours ago though,” one commented.
“My mom is there now. No TP or paper towels” at Costco another reported. An hour later, another member said her husband found both toilet paper and paper towels at the store.
Posts run the gamut from “looking for TP in Peoria right now,” to a Buckeye baker sharing what she has in stock for the day and a member who shared a link to the Southwest Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Support Local webpage. Another shared a link to an Arizona@Work site that lists employers looking to fill job openings immediately.
“I think this is such a great platform for connecting people not just far away, but locally, too, in the situation we’re all dealing with right now,” Ms. Young said. “The West Valley is such a vast space, it makes things feel a bit closer to home when we’re all looking out for each other.”
Kelly O’Sullivan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 760-963-1697. For up-to-date local reporting on all things COVID-19, Independent Newsmedia has created a webpage dedicated to coverage of the novel coronavirus: #AZNEWSMEDIA