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BELLA VISTA -- Growing up in western Ohio, Denene McBride was influenced by television personality Fred Rogers. She especially remembers his advice to children facing trauma: look for the helpers.

So when she realized the coronavirus would be very serious, she set up a site for the helpers. The Facebook page, Supporting Bella Vista, is a way to connect helpers with people who need them.

McBride retired from the military with a disability, but she maintained contacts with many of the people she served with. She had first-hand information from Korea about the severity of the virus, so her group got started early. The page is an open group with 112 members so far.

A few of the members have assignments. One is preparing a list of food pantries in the area. Another member is contacting churches to say what they are doing to help. Having all that information in an accessible format will make life easier for the people who need it.

So far, McBride has found more volunteers than victims. People in Bella Vista have been quick to offer help, including one mother who offered frozen breast milk to other mothers who can't get baby formula.

The website will probably be about fighting fires, she said, explaining the "fires" are small, unexpected problems cropping up. They'll work one-on-one with requests for help, she said.

"If anybody has a need, they should just come and share their need," she said. "If they're concerned about discretion, they can share with me privately. If they need an errand, shopping, or if there are products they can't find. They can put it to the group, and we will see what they can do."

Supporting Bella Vista should also be helpful to people who are having a hard time accepting the new reality. They will be able to see what their neighbors are doing about it. Members have posted information about why it's important to stay home, and there are some ideas about how to make isolation more tolerable.

Since it's an open group, it should be easy to find with a Facebook search, McBride said. Search for "Supporting Bella Vista."

NW News on 03/26/2020

Print Headline: Help offered via Facebook group

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