MAPLEWOOD, Mo. — "We have been going through a tough time, and we're losing people left and right," said a teary-eyed Shana Jones.
For Jones, that's more than a cliche.
It's her reality.
"After the first three phone calls, I think I went numb," recalled Jones.
In the last five weeks, the Maplewood mom has lost four close friends, three cousins, two aunts and an uncle to COVID-19.
That's 10 loved ones suddenly gone.
"I am barely holding up. It just doesn't seem real. It probably won't seem real until I go down to Georgia," said the 42-year-old.
Jones' family and friends all lived in Albany, Georgia. A city that has one of the highest COVID-19 death rates in the country.
"I have friends calling me. They're losing their parents. They're losing their cousins. It's me losing somebody," added Jones.
The mounting heartache and pain took a toll on the mother of three.
"It's too much. Watching the news and seeing how many people are being unemployed and seeing how many kids are home right now, peoples' stories and all that, I figured I had to do something," Jones said.
So, she turned her tears and sadness into service.
She initially spent her own money and bought $400 worth of food, toiletries, pet treats and more and put it all on a table outside her home for people in need.
"I'm just barely making it myself, but I wanted to help," Jones said.
Neighbors and strangers all heard about Jones' grab-n-go table, located at the corner of Folk and Bredell Avenue in Maplewood, and kept donating items.
Now, one woman's willingness to help has exploded into a heartwarming community project that's caught the attention of People Magazine, Newsweek, CNN and even the British Broadcasting Corporation.
"We were just driving by, saw her white tent and stopped to get some items. She was so nice. All I could feel was her enthusiasm, joy and excitement. You would never know she's experienced so much death related to COVID-19," said Maplewood resident Gilda Hamilton.
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"I also run a nonprofit for the homeless. It's called 'Keep Pushing' and now more than ever, that's what I'm going to do to get through all of this pain," Jones explained. "Even if people go back to work and the economy opens up, it's still going to be a hassle. Bills are gonna be due for so many people and so we're gonna go. We're gonna keep going."
If you'd like to find out more about Jones' Grab 'N Go good giveaway project visit her GoFundMe page here.