'Someone needs to help them' Volunteers deliver essentials to vulnerable during COVID-19

A volunteer organization called, The Good Neighbour Project (GNP) is helping some of the most-vulnerable stay safe during lockdown by delivering essential items straight to their door-steps.

The Good Neighbour Project started in Toronto at the beginning of March 2020 and soon branched out to other cities including London and Ottawa.

Each city has their own team members who reside in the town they are volunteering in.

The project recruits volunteers to deliver groceries and other essential items to seniors, those who are immune compromised, single-parents, those who are pregnant and anyone who has a physical or mental disability.

“It gave me a small role to try and help people during this really hard time. They’re always very appreciative of me and happy I took the time to do that small thing for them,” says Merlin Thomas, a volunteer and Western University student.

Maduba Ahmad co-founded the project after she saw large crowd’s lineup outside grocery stores during the first lockdown in spring of last year.

“The frenzy and the panic that caused people to rush to grocery stores…seeing when the shelves were empty, you could notice some seniors and folks who just weren’t fast enough to get those supplies.”

Ahmad says she knew someone had to do something to help them through this unprecedented time.

“Someone needs to help them, what is going to happen to people who aren’t fast enough to get to grocery stores?”

In London, approximately 100 volunteers are available to deliver essential items across the region. On a weekly basis, the London hot-line that is run by many Western University students, receives around ten calls.

Ahmad anticipates those numbers to grow as temperatures begin to drop.

“Our calls have been steadily increasing. Now you’re adding in weather, the cold temperatures, snow, even accessibility has been impacted. Taking the bus isn’t easy if you have to trudge a shopping cart home.”

But to help those in need is exactly why the project exists, with people like Thomas ready to answer the call.

“It is just a way to let me deliver groceries to those who are vulnerable, those who are single parents, it helped me feel better by helping other people.’

To learn how to become a volunteer or request service yourself, click here.

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