East Tennessee community coming together to help neighbors amid growing COVID-19 concerns

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KNOXVILLE/OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (WATE) – With so many unknowns in the world right now as concerns grow about the coronavirus, communities all over East Tennessee are stepping up and showing why Tennessee is called the ‘Volunteer State.’

More: Coronavirus Timeline: City of Knoxville declares state of emergency

“I think a lot of anxiety is just not knowing and especially during these times of trying to have social isolation,” said Kelly Arsenault with the Old North Knoxville Neighborhood Association.

Arsenault says their neighborhood has a Kindness Committee which created an online form for neighbors there to help each other, everything from running errands to meal prepping.

“It’s been amazing. We just put it up a couple of days ago and already we have at least 16 or 17 people who have volunteered to help with any of those things as far as preparing meals and helping run errands for people who are in need and I know that that amount is going to just keep growing,” she said.

More: Coronavirus in Tennessee: Case count grows to 52

Up in Oak Ridge, owners of the Crazy Cubans Food Truck are ready to hit the road and help East Tennessee.

“As soon as we get a call, we’re ready,” said Lissette Rivas.

Rivas and her husband, Eduardo Chavez, own the Crazy Cubans Food Truck and say they’ve had a number of canceled events because of COVID-19.

“Rather than being upset or depressed about it, and let food product go to waste, my wife and I came together that we should just help our neighbors, those who are too afraid to go out, the elderly or the ones who can’t physically get out on their own. We can prep meals for them, deliver meals if they want to,” said Chavez.

While some parents are wondering what’s next, the couple hopes to ease those questions.

“We know a lot of parents rely on schools for breakfast and lunch so we want to play a part in that so those parents aren’t worried,” added Rivas.

The couple says if you need help, contact them on their Facebook page or on their business line at (865) 466-3902 or (954) 298-7068.

“We want people to know that not to be afraid, not to be scared. there are people out there willing to help you,” said Chavez.

So many in the community, opening their hearts to help a neighbor.

“It’s also when we have these rough times it helps you reflect on what you can do for fellow neighbors and lets you see what people in your community are willing and able to do. Providing that help and support for each other I think is one of the really important things to get us through a time like this when there’s a lot of uncertainty,” added Arsenault.

These community groups hoping their work inspires others in East Tennessee to create a helpline for those in their neighborhood.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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