Even the coronavirus pandemic can’t keep Seattleites from connecting with one another.
Together with her business partner, Julie Biniasz, Sandy Justen is a founding member of the Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty (RSIR) flagship Seattle office and is consistently one of the brokerage’s top producers—in short, she really knows her stuff. Sandy is knowledgeable and confident, and she is the kind of experienced real estate agent who never hesitates to advocate for her clients. And now, as we all try to make it through the COVID-19 health crisis together, she’s advocating for her friends and neighbors, too.
Sandy, like many of us, is doing whatever she can to help her community in this time of need. Balancing her professional obligations with the private feeling that she had something more to offer those around her, Sandy has started shopping for food and essentials for her most at-risk neighbors and friends.
As many things do, her efforts started out small. She began by personally reaching out to a few friends in her building in Downtown Seattle, just a short walk away from the iconic Pike Place Market. She was concerned about her neighbors’ age, health, and physical limitations—several were already at higher risk from coronavirus due to other conditions, and Sandy was planning to head to the market anyway to get some fresh fish. She offered to pick up some fish for these neighbors as well, and a few of them took her up on it.
In the weeks following, Sandy offered to pick up other items for these neighbors too. She’d grab fish, but also stop for fresh produce, meat and poultry, and swing by market favorites like Three Girls Bakery, DiLaurenti’s, or The Creamery for local dairy products and other delicacies.
Sandy has now offered up her services to her entire building, which has a total of 143 homes! Using her building’s online message board, Sandy posts a note every Tuesday to ask who needs what that week. Every Thursday, she goes shopping. She buys groceries for four to 12 people every week, and depending on her neighbors’ current needs, will sometimes add a second pickup day into her schedule to accommodate as many members of her community as possible. She occasionally goes to a nearby pharmacy, too, to pick up other essential items and prescriptions.
Grocery shopping may seem like a small task, but for Sandy’s neighbors who are concerned about their age or health and fear leaving their homes even for little errands, Sandy’s weekly market runs are a huge help and a lifeline to their community—and they’ve made it clear that they appreciate her efforts. Her positive action has impacted others in her community, too, beyond those she shops for—her building now has a list of 10 volunteers who are willing to assist their fellow homeowners with other needs and daily chores.
Sandy is still the only grocery shopper, but her little act of kindness has snowballed into something much bigger, and created a virtual network of neighborly compassion and helpfulness—the effects of which we’re sure will be felt in her community for a long time to come.