20 Mar 2020

Coronavirus brings out generosity as volunteers help supply groceries

6:09 pm on 20 March 2020

As the Covid-19 virus continues to spread, so does solidarity and kindness.

Allen Carbon, of Christchurch, and his friends have been offering a helping hand by dropping groceries to people in self-isolation.

He wore a printed sign at the city's airport last week: "Kia ora, do you need help with your groceries?" and had pamphlets sprawled - at a safe distance 2m in front of him - for visitors to take back to their accomodation with his contact details and an offer to help drop off food.

"I want to be able to help the people who have fallen through the cracks," he said.

"The elderly who won't have social media and foreigners who bought last minute tickets and are just arriving now without having any plan of getting any groceries apart from just going to their hotel."

"A lot of people are looking for an example on how to react in this situation. Seeing a lot of my friends and neighbors react with kindness is a good way for us to show, hey this is an okay thing to do."

  • If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, call the NZ Covid-19 Healthline on 0800 358 5453 (+64 9 358 5453 for international SIMs)

After the airport trip, he visited his friend Genevieve Pope who was in isolation after arriving from the US four days earlier.

After six months overseas she was finding it a bit tough being stuck at home so he picked up groceries including eggs, bread and toilet paper as well as her favourite bubble tea and some helium balloons.

Pope said she was overcome by the kind gesture and was grateful to receive generosity when many people were stressed and panicked.

"It has genuinely been made so much easier because of people like Allen coming around, helping out and bringing things I like. It genuinely makes me feel really good."

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Allen and his friends have helped at least 40 people by dropping off groceries and medication. The group will be available to help throughout the pandemic and he hoped others would follow their lead join them.

"The best thing we can do right now is to help each other and help our neighbors as well. Even going around your neighborhood will make the biggest impact."

The University of Canterbury Student Volunteer Army (SVA) is also lending a helping hand by offering assistance with a raft of jobs such as picking up online food shops and offering a friendly voice on the phone for a chat.

People can visit their website to volunteer throughout NZ or sign up for assistance.