UA Pre-Med Student Starts Fee-Free, No Contact Delivery Service for Seniors

Michael Arundel with a cart of bagged groceries in the grocery store.
Michael Arundel, founder of Leave It To Us.

From the March 2020 Desktop News | UA biology major Michael Arundel knows the power of a good deed. A pre-med student, his career goal is to care for patients and provide an essential service to his community. But even before the MCAT, graduation, and medical school, he’s looking to make a difference in the world by helping those most impacted by the spread of COVID-19.

When Arundel arrived to his home of Orland Park, Illinois for spring break, he received a call from his cousin, a senior living in the area who was concerned about coronavirus. She knew that if she went to shop for groceries and caught the virus, it could be detrimental because of her high risk factors. Arundel immediately sprang into action, promising to go get her and her friends groceries so they wouldn’t have to worry. Then, Arundel began to think outside his cousin’s social circle.

“I was thinking about what we were doing, and it dawned on me: why can’t my greater group of friends do this in our community?” Arundel said. “Why can’t we spread the service throughout Orland Park into the surrounding area? So, that night, I posted about it on Facebook, and it went from there.”

This promise to his cousin quickly evolved into the creation of Leave It To Us, a fee-free, no-contact delivery service for seniors in the area. The idea was simple: seniors would call Arundel with a list of things they needed, Arundel or one of his friends would go purchase the items and then leave it where the senior could access it.

Initially, his goal was to serve the seniors in the greater-Chicago area, but thanks to a media-blitz including local TV stations, state-wide newspapers, and even a feature as the Today Show’s Hero of the Day, it’s expanded nation-wide.

“I definitely did not think this would get the attention it has,” Arundel said. “My mom came in yelling that I was on the Today Show, and I was floored. But it’s really helped expand the service. People around the country have started to reach out to me wanting to start chapters all. I’ve heard from college students from Los Angeles, San Diego, Scottsdale, Florida, New York—we’re starting new chapters all over the country.”

As Leave It To Us continues to expand, Arundel is proud of the work that he and his fellow college students are doing in this time of crisis. Although he receives several dozen calls from seniors a day for delivery service, he says his face lights up every time. He’s happy to help in any way he can.

“I think we’re at the point in this crisis where my generation has the greatest potential to make the biggest difference,” Arundel said. “Really, all we’re trying to do is help our neighbors. If you could do something just as small as asking your neighbor if they need anything, or if you want to get even more involved and try to start your own chapter, you’re making an impact. Since our generation is at the lowest risk level at this point, I think we can sacrifice our time to try to flatten the curve for our elderly population, for sure.”

For more information about Leave It To Us or to start your own chapter, visit the website or email Michael Arundel.

This story is part of our Tide Together Stories series. We’re looking for stories that bring a smile to our faces during the COVID-19 crisis. Are you a student, faculty or staff member, or alumni making the world a brighter place? Let us know in this survey!