Coronavirus California: Many across Bay Area are paying it forward during COVID-19 pandemic

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- In the South Bay, selfless acts and simple activities are keeping many people busy.

Before the shelter-in-place order was enforced, San Jose resident Tien Nguyen took to social media with this message:

"Hello, My name is Tien and I am offering free service especially for the elderly, disabled, or anything that is unable to gather supplies."

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"If you or anyone you know lives in San Jose or close by that needs supplies, but are unable to go to the market, please let me know," his posts continued. "I will go out of my way to get them for you at my own expense."

While his message was echoed by many across social media, Nguyen made his mobile number easily accessible.

"The goal was to help out the elderly or disabled," Nguyen told ABC7 News. "Or just anybody that has a hard time gathering supplies during this horrible situation."

In the last few days, he's received a handful of calls. Nguyen said in addition to helping out the elderly and disabled, he's also helped a single mother.

Nguyen said he found the time, after being forced to close Labyrinth Bar in Downtown San Jose because of COVID-19. His main concern was the 20 employees who rely on the business.

He explained, normally, Labyrinth attracts long lines and crowds. It's his main source of income.

Instead of dwelling on the loss, Nguyen wanted to focus his energy elsewhere.

After posting to several social media platforms, he got a call from Estella Sanchez, 72.

The senior told ABC7 News she is disabled, without a car, and is suffering from varying health problems. When she reached out to Nguyen, she requested just two cans of vegetables.

"Sure enough, he showed up with not only two cans of vegetables, but about nine cans," Sanchez said. "Which I appreciate, because in my position, I'm not able to really get out."

She said, in her 72 years, she's never seen anything like the panic over COVID-19.

Sanchez shared her gratitude for Nguyen, a stranger who gave his time to fulfill her request.

Nguyen's initial message, making a world of difference.

He is also lending a helping hand and volunteering with local food banks to reach even more families.

On Tuesday, he spent time with the Second Harvest Food Bank of Silicon Valley.

Farther south, ABC7 News came across messages of a different kind.

"I actually helped collect the sticks and pine cones," Brooklyn Welch, 7, told ABC7 News.

The pandemic is keeping Brooklyn, her mother and three siblings at home.

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know about San Francisco Bay Area's shelter-in-place order

The family got creative during a recent visit to Vista Park in South San Jose, using the material to simply spell out "I like to..." With every return, they found a longer list.

On Tuesday, visitors could find the words, "Swim, play, art, being outside, ride bikes," also spelled out in twigs and pine cones. Strangers, sharing their favorite activities for all to see.

Days prior, mother, Kathy Welch, took a picture and shared the message on Nextdoor. More than 50 neighbors shared their delight, online.

"Everyone's in the same situation, and it's really difficult at home," Welch shared. "Everyone is on social media, trying to support each other. I just think, if we can come up with some creative ideas to get us through this time, I think it would be a really good situation for all of us."

Kathy, Brooklyn and 13-year-old Dallas Welch met ABC7 News in the pouring rain, Tuesday.

"We were going to get the community together and it was going to be a good thing for everybody to come together," 13-year-old Dallas said. "Even though we're not actually coming together."

The Welch family declared Tuesday, "TP Tuesday," as they delivered toilet paper and sanitizer to their neighbors.

"We're giving some to our neighbors, and adding fun little notes to it," Dallas explained. "It's been really fun for us."

As of Tuesday, the Welch children were marking two days out of school. Brooklyn explained, "I just try to play games, I do puzzles, and I just try to roll with it."

Up against social distancing and sheltering-in-place, the Welch's and Tien Nguyen still found time to pay it forward.

"This is a time for us to teach them a lot," Kathy Welch said. "We have the opportunity to teach them kindness, teach them compassion."

On Tuesday, the family's original layout was moved off the Vista Park basketball courts. You can find the growing list in the outer boundary of the court.

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