Coronavirus crisis sparks gatherings of online communities in Grapevine, Colleyville, Southlake

New social media groups are helping people connect with people in need during the coronavirus concerns. (Screenshot by Miranda Jaimes/Community Impact Newspaper)
New social media groups are helping people connect with people in need during the coronavirus concerns. (Screenshot by Miranda Jaimes/Community Impact Newspaper)

New social media groups are helping people connect with people in need during the coronavirus concerns. (Screenshot by Miranda Jaimes/Community Impact Newspaper)

Image description
New social media groups are helping people connect with people in need during the coronavirus concerns. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
As novel coronavirus cases continue to climb in Tarrant County, one Southlake resident realized he could not sit idly by.

Al Zito, a former Southlake City Council member, decided to create a forum for people to help each other. These took the shape of private Facebook groups for local communities. The first group was called “Southlake People Helping People.” Now there is also “Grapevine People Helping People,” “Colleyville People Helping People” and “Flower Mound People Helping People.” More groups are on the way, he said.

“I decided to move forward with my tiny corner of the world or circle of influence and started to put together a network of people that can express when they have need and whatever that need is, and then the corresponding network of people of volunteers and people that are able to offer assistance,” Zito said.

The Southlake group was created Saturday, March 14, and within 24 hours the group had grown to more than 800 members, he said. As of 5 p.m. March 18, the Southlake group now has more than 1,400 members.

Discussion in the group includes updates on where to find grocery items and making members aware of people in the community needing assistance with food or other necessities.

“We're establishing a foundation that I see is desperately needed on how we are going to be able to help each other moving forward, because there's certain people that just don't need to be out of their house or out in their car driving around,” Zito said. “This thing is just super contagious and it's got such a bad mortality rate for people of older age and immune or underlying health issues that it’s scary.”

Shortly after the Southlake group was created, Zito spun this version off into other groups in Grapevine, Colleyville and Flower Mound to further allow neighbors to help neighbors. This came after he realized it was easier for people to help others if they did not have to travel great distances, Zito said.

There is no agenda other than to help people, he said.

“We're trying to put resources together and the understanding of what resources that are out there together with the needs of people,” Zito said.

These human connections have helped a local facility provide toilet paper to clients, and have also helped a mother under quarantine get ingredients for her daughter’s birthday, Zito said. Needs were expressed and met while still maintaining responsible social distancing through these virtual forums, he said.

“I think we're going to find that social media is going to become a very critical part of all of our lives and also the tie that binds us in what's going to keep us together,” he said. “We’ve got challenging times ahead. And the way we’re going to get through it is together.”
By Miranda Jaimes
Miranda has been in the North Texas area since she graduated from Oklahoma Christian University in 2014. She reported and did design for a daily newspaper in Grayson County before she transitioned to a managing editor role for three weekly newspapers in Collin County. Now she's in Tarrant County, mostly, and has been an Impacter since 2017 as the editor of the Grapevine/Colleyville/Southlake edition.


Various intersections along SH 26 in Colleyville will have a single lane closed April 9-17. (Miranda Jaimes/Community Impact Newspaper)
LANE CLOSURE: SH 26 in Colleyville to have single-lane closures April 9-17

Various intersections on northbound and southbound SH 26 will have single-lane closures from April 9-17, a Texas Department of Transportation news release announced.

CV Local Juicery and DessertsRx stopped by Colleyville City Hall and the city's Police and Fire Departments to deliver immune-boosting beverages and snacks. (Courtesy CV Local Juicery)
Colleyville first responders receive donation from local businesses

Two local businesses have teamed up to help provide Colleyville first responders with immune-boosting products.

Drivers on April 8 parked outside Medical City Plano and honked, flashed lights and cheered for health care workers as confirmed cases of the coronavirus continued their climb in the region. (Courtesy Medical City Plano)
ROUNDUP: Coronavirus continues to affect metroplex

Here are five stories about the continued impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Main Street Fest has been rescheduled for later this year. (Courtesy Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau)
Main Street Fest in Grapevine rescheduled to June

The Grapevine Convention and Visitor Bureau announced April 8 that its annual craft brew experience will go on, just on a different date.

Elevated water levels at Grapevine Lake have closed some parks and trails. (Photo by Anna Herod/Community Impact Newspaper)
Grapevine discourages gatherings and Easter egg hunts this weekend

The Grapevine Parks and Recreation Department and the city of Grapevine are reminding residents that social gatherings and group activities are not allowed, in spite of the Easter weekend.

The Texas Workforce Commission's phone and online systems have been overwhelmed as measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus continue to have a crippling effect on the economy. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
More Texans have filed for unemployment in past three weeks than in all of 2019

For the second week in a row, more than 6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits, according to federal data.

The city of Colleyville mailed out the first round of gift cards in March, seen on the left, and is conceptualizing what the second gift card will look like, which is seen on the right. (Courtesy city of Colleyville)
Colleyville to circulate second round of $35 gift cards

The city of Colleyville agreed April 7 to distribute a second wave of $35 gift cards to resident mailboxes.

Texas Central claims the $12 billion construction process would be privately funded, and the train would transport 6 million annual riders by 2029. (Courtesy Texas Central Partners/Community Impact Newspaper)
State legislators request federal officials halt activity on Texas Central's high-speed rail project

Dozens of elected officials representing Texas requested the U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao put an end to activity related to Texas Central’s high-speed rail project between Dallas and Houston.

Venue Verona Villa is located on Dallas Parkway. (Courtesy Verona Villa)
ROUNDUP: DFW businesses, ISDs respond to outbreak

Here are five stories on how business and school districts in the metroplex are adapting during the coronavirus pandemic.

This menu assortment features a variety of foods offered from Zatar. (Courtesy LDWW Group)
Two more vendors announced for Grapevine’s upcoming Harvest Hall; food trucks to expand reach of 6 kitchens

Vendors have been selected for two of the remaining three stalls in Harvest Hall, a European-style food hall opening this summer in Grapevine.

A sphere similar to this one will be the new piece of public art on Grapevine Main Street. (Courtesy city of Grapevine)
Public art to bring foot traffic to north Grapevine Main Street

A new piece of art work will soon make its way to Grapevine Main Street.

Glade Road is one of the projects the city approved in its Capital Improvement Plan in September 2019. (Miranda Jaimes/Community Impact Newspaper)
Two road projects in Colleyville to move forward

Colleyville is making progress on installing a new roundabout on McDonwell School Road and improving Glade Road.