The sign said: “Take what you need, donate what you can.” Soup, canned vegetables and shampoo crowded together on a table on Virginia Vannoy’s front lawn. Nearby, a refrigerator chilled eggs and milk.
In March, when the pandemic was at its peak in their small town of Homewood, Pennsylvania, Virginia, an Aetna Healthy Outcomes Supervisor, and her husband Brian, did something extraordinary – feed their neighbors.
“Many are elderly, some in poor health. At the time they were too frightened of the coronavirus to leave their homes and shop for groceries,” says Virginia. “We had to do something.”
The couple began by pulling food from their pantry and buying other goods. “The first few days nobody came and we thought, ‘Oh no, this isn’t going to work.’ Then we noticed people arriving early in the morning and later in the evening,” she explains.
News of their good deed soon got around.
“A butcher who went to school with Brian donated meat, others gave gift cards for us to purchase supplies. Someone, we still don’t know who, dropped off a ton of snack food. It was heartwarming,” Virginia says.
“Virginia always thinks of others and brings that same spirit to her job,” explains Healthy Outcomes Manager Michelle Bilgera. “Currently, her team helps provide Medicare members with home kits to screen for cancer and monitor diabetes – something that’s crucial, as many members are learning safer ways to access care in the pandemic.”