Connecting community members in a time of need is the goal of a new public service in Halifax County – Helping Halifax.

The Halifax County Public Library System started Helping Halifax to give community members able and willing to lend a helping hand an opportunity to help vulnerable members of the community during the coronavirus pandemic.

Chris Baker, South Boston branch manager for the Halifax County Public Library System, said he had seen other places offering similar services and thought, “How can I modify this and make it work for Halifax?”

“Older folks need to stay at home because they’re more at risk (of serious illness from the coronavirus). Those folks still need food and medication,” Baker said. “I thought, ‘Why not group the folks most at risk with the folks least at risk?’ If we have a way to help people keep from getting sick, we need to do that.”

Making a trip to the grocery store for food items, to the pharmacy for prescription medications, or doing yard work are some of the things that volunteers with Helping Halifax can do for other community members.

People in need of help and those willing to help can fill out a Google doc on the Halifax County Public Library’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/HCSBPL.

The Helping Hands administrator will connect the two parties.

Those in need of help who do not have Internet access can have another person fill out the Google doc on their behalf.

“Let’s say that Joe needs a trip to the grocery store, and Jane can make a trip to the grocery store. I would hook Joe and Jane up. We’re just the ‘match maker’ in this process,” Baker said.

The public libraries in Halifax County are closed through May 2, and Helping Halifax is one of the public library system’s forms of community outreach.

The library also live streams a “story time” on its Facebook page every day at 3 p.m.

“This is a growing trend in public libraries. You’re not just checking out books and DVD’s anymore. You’re doing outreach work and trying to get the community connected,” Baker said.

Find more information on their website, https://www.halifaxlibrary.org/ or follow “Halifax County-South Boston Public Libraries” on Facebook.

Miranda Baines is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at mbaines@gazettevirginian.com.

Miranda Baines is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at mbaines@gazettevirginian.com.