By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter
Northborough – As people are self-isolating and in quarantine, Northborough resident Julie Stanwood saw a need. Many are turning to social media for information. The problem is that the information is often fragmented and in many locations and is often not vetted.
Stanwood is well known in the community for her involvement and follows many different Facebook pages. She also works for Mobil Crisis, helping families in need in Worcester.
“I was catching up on reading everything in Northborough and I felt like there was a lot of varying information,” she recalled. “I was seeing things on friends’ pages and I was seeing things on the mom’s page and it was all wonderful but I thought that this needs to get streamlined so that everybody can go to one place to get accurate information.”
Stanwood created the Facebook page “Northborough Community Aid” to direct all traffic related to the coronavirus situation, such as what the food pantry needs, what stores have stock of certain items, etc. The page is brand new, created within the past few days. She is modelling it after one she follows in Worcester called “Mutual Aid Worcester.”
She said that the purpose is twofold – to let people know where they can go and buy things and to reduce the level of panic a little bit.
“It can help relax people ever so little and maybe only for moment but it gives them that sense of normalcy,” she explained.
Stanwood is forming a committee with a couple of others to try to prepare in case things get worse and to be prepared in case of another similar situation. She is teaming up with Judy Boyle from the Northborough Neighbor Brigade and Kerri Martinek, chair of the Northborough Planning Board.
She said, “It’s better to be prepared and not needed than be needed and not prepared.”
They are reaching out to the Northborough Senior Center, the Northborough Food Pantry and other town departments to assess what they are doing and what they need. She is directing them to this new Facebook page so she can share timely information in one location right now.
Their hope is to connect agencies with the people who need services.
Stanwood said that their group’s next step is to create on online system attached to the Facebook page that gives people places to sign up who might need help and those who are in a position to help – confidentially.
“We just want people in Northborough to know that they have a place to go to find out what is going on and where to get accurate and up-to-date information,” Stanwood noted.
She realizes that not everyone is on the internet and plugged in to social media. She urges anyone needing information and assistance with things such as picking up groceries to contact Boyle at 508-561-7164. To follow the group, visit www.facebook.com/NorthboroughCommunityAid.