Near the end of their two-hour conversation on a Sunday afternoon in early October, Stacie Weldon and Sharon Benkendorf wondered how they would spend their winters during quarantine for the coronavirus pandemic.
“When winter comes, the isolation, I don’t know, I’ll be knocking on Sharon’s door in Florida,” Weldon said in front of her laptop in Hinsdale, Mass.
“You come on any time,” Benkendorf said from Sunrise, Fla. “I’ve got a dog you can play with. I’ve got a spare room. Anytime you need a vacation. If they close you down again, Stacie, you’re welcome.”
Weldon and Benkendorf have never met in person, but over the past four months they’ve developed a friendship after matching with each other on a website. Quarantine Buddy, founded by two Cornell University students in April, matches people from around the world based on their background and interests, and they meet virtually.
The website has helped more than 50,000 people — spanning all 50 U.S. states and more than 100 countries — build friendships while stuck at home.