The Facebook group he created, called COVID-19 North Texas Relief, has since “exploded” and is nearing 6,000 members less than a week later.
“I've been kind of scrambling ever since to get everything going,” Danson said. “But it's been pretty exciting to see our Frisco community come together and try to find some needs to help out with.”
Danson said the idea for the group came as he and his wife began thinking of her 93-year-old grandmother who lives alone in Pennsylvania. The group’s aim is to assist those most vulnerable to coronavirus by picking up the groceries and supplies they need without having to leave their homes.
The effort has grown so quickly it is "really hard to tell how many people we've helped," Danson said. “It’s just going all over the place. We have volunteers signing up from everywhere in Dallas. All these different cities are looking trying to see if they can set up something similar or partner with us.”
The group currently helps people in Frisco, McKinney, Plano and Allen, with those cities divided into more than 20 different zones. Each zone has a team lead to help coordinate efforts, Danson said.
“We just want to give back to our community,” said Adrianne Hudson, a team leader for one of the group’s zones in Frisco. “We want to offer hope. You see someone for who they are when there’s a crisis like this. I am so blessed to be beside so many people who have integrity and want to give to their community.”
Danson said one of the group’s earliest success stories involved a woman who did not want to go out to shop for supplies for herself and her seven children because she has been diagnosed with cancer.
“We were able to get through to her in a couple hours and [get her] the supplies that she needed,” Danson said.
Another mother of two kids had an underlying health condition and was self-quarantined because she had just gotten back from California.
"She was crying [and] locked in her bathroom [because] she didn't want her kids to see,” Danson said. “I actually went and dropped it [the deliveries] off without any human interaction. We just dropped it off in her garage, and she went and got it after we left.”
On March 18, some of the group's members were collecting food donations for seniors in a low-income community in Denton County. The food drive was held at the Chick-Fil-A location near the corner of Lebanon Road and the Dallas North Tollway.
“So many people came, and they donated pet food, they donated pasta, they donated rice, canned foods and things like that,” Hudson said. “In a time of uncertainty, this provides me hope. We're all coming together, and this is just amazing to see.”
Joel Upton, executive director for Chick-Fil-A’s two locations along the DNT at Lebanon Road and Eldorado Parkway, is also a member of COVID-19 North Texas Relief.
“It started a little slow and then as business picked up around lunchtime, we got a lot more folks [dropping off food],” Upton said of Wednesday's food drive. “They would come in the drive-thru line actually getting ready to place an order while one person's unloading the car onto the patio.”
Danson said the group has safety protocols in place to make sure everything is properly sanitized. Members even have to fill out a checklist to make sure they have completed all of the procedures before dropping things off, he said.
Danson said those looking to help or in need of assistance should go to the group’s Facebook page.
“There's a link on there to donate or volunteer, or if you’re in need or know of a need, there's a Google Doc form they can fill out,” Danson said. “We have team leads that it goes to. Then they'll reach out to that person and try to get them plugged into what we're doing.”