Westview High School student expands grocery delivery service
Oregon residents are months into a pandemic and now dealing with wildfires across the state, but one Westview High School student is helping those who need it.
Last spring, 16-year-old Neel Jain organized a project called PDX Concierge. The service is run by Jain and his father to provide a free grocery delivery service to the most at-risk groups for complications from COVID-19, namely the elderly and immunocompromised.
Jain went from 25 deliveries in the Bethany area, to about 175 deliveries with expansion to Clackamas, Tigard, Eugene, Salem, Roseburg and Vancouver, Washington.
"(First), we got a call from Clackamas from someone who wanted a delivery there, so then I reached out to some friends I knew, and luckily, they were able to help out with that," recalled Jain. "We just expanded from there and knew there'd be a lot of demand in some of the other areas."
Jain was also contacted by volunteers after learning about his service last spring.
With PDX Concierge expanding, Jain is now coordinating more deliveries than doing them himself, but he's grateful the service is helping others across the state.
"It's definitely nice that we're able to help with a broader population after starting so small," he said.
Jain also takes precautions not to spread the coronavirus. He doesn't have symptoms, he said, but he knows it can be spread by people who are infected but don't feel sick. He said he washes his hands thoroughly, wipes down items, and wears gloves and a face mask.
The Westview High School student will also have to balance his growing service with a virtual school year in full swing.
"It will be a bit more difficult," he said, "in terms of time, but I'll be able to work on that after school, and during the weekends."
Some would say that is enough to take on, but Jain is also designed PDX Concierge shirts to benefit firefighters and first responders battling wildfires across Oregon.
"I am also interested in graphic design, and I thought it'd be cool to have branded shirts and try it out," said Jain.
He added, "Firefighters and frontline workers are doing a lot right in these extreme wildfires and just want to show support from our organization."
The shirts feature a firefighter, a frontline worker with a mask on and a PDX Concierge delivery person in the mix.
Jain hopes to raise at least $100 and plans to donate some of the funds to Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue.
"Some people may be going through a financially hard time, so any amount is fine," he added.
For those unable to leave their house due to wildfire smoke, Jain also hopes the service can help them during an unprecedented time.
"It's not just for helping the elderly, we're also looking to help people that have underlying health conditions," he said.
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