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Crisis Heroes: This DC Woman Will Run Errands for At-Risk People

Alli McGill tweeted that she's willing to help. Her inbox quickly filled up.

Photograph courtesy Alli McGill.
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Name: Alli McGill

Title: Director of Care, The Table Church, 945 G Street, Northwest

Why: The local church volunteer is running errands for at risk-senior neighbors

Around 5 PM Thursday, Alli McGill sent a tweet to her small group of followers:

By 2 PM Friday, her message had been retweeted more than 900 times, and her inbox has been flooded. We caught up with McGill to lean what inspired her to help and what she’s been doing to respond.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I care deeply about neighboring. My normal role is when families have babies, or when surgeries happen—that type of life disruption—I organize meals for them. Just making sure that people are cared for, and their basic needs are met. But this is a volunteer position. I am also the founder of an organization that provides support to people experiencing homelessness, wearelazarus.org, and I have 20 years of experience in that field.

What has been the response to your tweet?

I have had hundreds of emails and direct messages, and Facebook messages of people wanting to help. Today, we are really primarily getting organized, because we’re thinking long game. People might have gone to the grocery store three days ago. But next week? So we are laying the ground work.

Have you had any requests for help from at-risk citizens?

Right now, we’re starting with the slow trickle in. I actually have two needs that as soon as we hang up I’m going to address. One young woman needs a thermometer delivered; she said she wants it in a baggie because her mailbox is dirty. She doesn’t know if she has coronavirus, but she needs to take her temperature. The other is an elderly person who needs a grocery run. And I have a list of groceries.

Who is handling those errands?

We have so many volunteers that I am going to assign it. I’ll assign a volunteer based on location of where they are [relative to where the at-risk person is], because that’s how we are going to set up the volunteers.

Are you doing anything else to reach out to other at-risk people who might need these services?

One of our plans is to put up flyers tomorrow. Because while a lot of older people may be on Facebook, social media may not be the best way to reach that demographic. And so we are going to try to put the word out via flyer.

Who is paying the costs of these errands?

We are setting up our categories of volunteers and determining which of our volunteers are willing to fund errands. Or we can set it up through the church as well.

How are those first two errands going to be paid for?

They’ll probably be funded by me, or the church. I’m not going to [pay for] all the needs—I’m certainly not a rich person. But today, while we’re getting set up, I probably will.

If you’d like to help, please contact Alli at alli@thetabledc.org

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Senior Writer

Luke Mullins is a senior writer at Washingtonian magazine focusing on the people and institutions that control the city’s levers of power. He has written about the Koch Brothers’ attempt to take over The Cato Institute, David Gregory’s ouster as moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press, the collapse of Washington’s Metro system, and the conflict that split apart the founders of Politico.