WEST PARIS — When the coronavirus outbreak began to affect people from living their everyday lives, West Paris resident Patty Pittman decided she should try to help.

An offer of help, made via Facebook, to residents affected by the coronavirus public health crisis. Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

On Mar. 20 she posted on West Paris’ community Facebook page that if anyone needed help with routine errands they should reach out to her. Since then, she has been doing shopping for a couple of residents who live nearby, picking up what she can when it is available.

“I’ve only had a couple of of takers,” she said, reached by phone last Friday. “It’s not surprising, people who live in this area are very independent. They don’t like asking for help.”

What did surprise Pittman was that the first responses she received were inquiries about how much she charged. She had no intention of making money so she re-posted her offer a few days later to clarify.

“I am still working and I am out anyways,” she wrote. “It is not a big deal to drop supplies off to a neighbor. If you can’t get out or are afraid because of your health or age, just call or text.”

It was then that two people from the community took her up on her offer.

“They’ve started sending me their grocery lists,” she said. “I can stop on my way from work in Auburn. Or do it when I’m running around doing my own shopping in Oxford.”

She delivers their food and they reimburse her then. Sometimes it takes a few attempts to complete the errand, as store shelves are often bare. Flour from the baking aisle has been item that she has had to chase around.

Patty Pittman of West Paris is helping out nearby immune compromised residents stuck at home due to the coronavirus threat. Supplied image

Pittman was also surprised that her acts of kindness, to people she did not know before, would become an item of interest for the local newspaper. She is just happy she can help out.

“I hope that anyone who needs it can go ask for help,” she said. “We’re all in this together. We need to be committed to our neighbors and look out for each other.”

A simple but meaningful message.

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