After more than a week isolated in their homes, some Gloucester residents are turning to Facebook to connect with and support their neighbors.

Patty Wall created the Facebook group "We Are All In This Together Gloucester" on Saturday with the expressed purpose of helping those in need during the coronavirus crisis.

"Can't find something in the stores near you?" the "About" section of the group reads. "Post it here so we can all look out for it where we are. Or post anything you have excess of that someone might need. Let's be Good Humans and take care of each other!"

The group was created spontaneously during a social distancing Saturday afternoon. In just four days, the group has amassed 2,227 members.

"I just happened to be bored and searching the internet when I saw a group with a similar name (based in) Rhode Island," Wall said. "I made the group and one of my friends, Leah Lovasco, said she wanted to be involved and monitor the page." 

Group members aren't just shopping for supplies for one another. Among the hundreds of posts, one can find information on local child care services, home cleaners, mental health resources or simply a place to chat with neighbors online.

"We've had people who said they had no money for food and the members of the group came together and dropped off items at their door steps," explained Wall. According to her, Dave and Eleanor Tucker of Mom's Kitchen Restaurant on Commercial Street have used the group to find local families in need of a hot meal.

Paulette Vantrease, a Rockport resident and an ER nurse at Beverly Hospital, said she connected with a local fisherman in the group. He ended up delivering a freshly-caught haddock meal for hospital staff working long hours. 

"It's a community-wide give and take," Vantrease said in an email describing "We Are All In This Together Gloucester." "I reached out to ask for help with house cleaning. Since I will be working nearly every night due to short staffing, etc., keeping the house as free of germs as possible is paramount and I simply won't have time. I received immediate responses from people who are out of work but willing to do anything to help and be helped."

In addition, Beverly Hospital received N95 medical face masks donated by Wall and Rockport resident Mercy Duffill. So far, the group has donated around 150 masks to the hospital and Gloucester Police Department. 

"It's so amazing how everyone's coming together and keeping each other positive," Wall said. "I appreciate all of the Gloucester residents that have come together in this time of crisis to help each other get through these difficult times."  

Michael Cronin may be contacted at 978-675-2708, or mcronin@gloucestertimes.com.

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