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“Kindness Committee” Helps Those Stuck at Home During COVID-19 Outbreak

Most of us are familiar with Jesus’s commandment to “love your neighbor,” but one neighborhood in Old North Knoxville Historic District is giving new meaning to the well-known phrase.

Kelly Arsenault is chairperson of the “Kindness Committee,” a group of Old North Knoxville neighbors who pool their time, talents, and resources to help out those in need in their area. But the recent Coronavirus outbreak has produced a whole new set of needs and problems.

“I don’t think any of us in our lifetimes have ever experienced this kind of thing before,” Arsenault said. Because of the threats of infection, those who are immunocompromised or otherwise at higher risk are forced to stay home and limit contact with others. For many, this means no more eating out, traveling, or making essential trips to the grocery store. 

But despite the uncertainty that comes with these new and frightening circumstances, Arsenault noted that what’s most important is to “just be there for each other and help each other navigate through.” And that’s exactly what the Kindness Committee is doing with a new Google form they set up. 

The form allows neighbors to sign up for a variety of errands or tasks that high-risk people can’t do for themselves. This includes going to pick up groceries, preparing meals, and even simply donating money. 

Despite physical isolation, the neighbors in Old North Knoxville have grown closer than ever, thanks to the kindness and care they are showing each other.