Amid Coronavirus Crisis, Berlin Student Helps Neighbors Help Each Other

Christian Watjen
By Christian Watjen
March 17, 2020COVID-19

BERLIN—As Germany follows other European nations and locks down public life to help slow the spread of coronavirus, one high school student in Berlin had an idea how to weaken the blow for some.

“Last Friday I read the news and realized that there might be some people in Berlin that really need help, especially in this very challenging situation,” Noah Adler, founder of CoronaPort, told NTD. So he put his coding skills to use and created a website to connect people who offer help with those who need it.

The lockdown brings more challenges for some groups. With schools and daycare centers closing, many parents struggle to take care of their children. Elderly and sick people are part of the at-risk group and encouraged to stay home. Others are already in self-quarantine and may not have relatives to help them to shop for drugs or other necessities or simply walk their dog.

Adler’s website is called CoronaPort and is at this time only for people living in the Berlin area.

In just three days, over 1,000 people have registered to offer support to neighbors in need. Many are willing to help with shopping. Others offer child care, pet sitting, or physical labor. Some are also willing to donate goods, like disinfectant. Those who are in need can simply call or email the volunteers.

At the moment, Adler is the only one working on the platform, and told RBB he screens every submission personally. He added that he plans to expand the website to other cities.

“The key to success is to work together and to help each other in really in the smallest point to the largest frame,” Adler said, on how to overcome the crisis.

As social life comes largely to a standstill, some Berliners say their communities are coming together. For them, it’s a time to show more solidarity, help take care of their neighbors, particularly single parents, the sick, and the elderly.

“And this is where our solidarity, our reason, our hearts for each other are put to the test, which I hope we can pass,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week.

As the third-most affected nation, Germany just enacted far-reaching measures, including limits to visits elderly homes and hospitals. As of Tuesday, Germany has over 7,500 confirmed cases and 17 deaths. In Berlin, at least 300 people are infected.

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