Richmond COVID-19 Facebook group reaches out to vulnerable

Less than a week after forming, a Richmond Facebook group is reaching out to the most vulnerable during this health-care emergency.

Twenty drivers have volunteered to bring Food Bank deliveries to young mothers and other clients in Richmond, all connected through the COVID-19 Richmond Coming Together group.

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The group is already 370 strong, with many people reaching out to ask how they can help during this health crisis, explained Steveston resident Karina Reid who modelled the group on a similar one in Vancouver.

They are getting daily requests for help.

The group’s purpose is to help those in need as “pandemics disproportionately and unevenly impact different marginalized populations,” its Facebook page explains.

While everyone is being encouraged to stay home and hunker down in order to combat the spread of COVID-19, Reid said she felt the need to reach out to see if the most vulnerable needed help.

“I can’t be cozy and happy if I know other aren’t fulfilling their basic needs,” she said.

She called some people she knew who access the Foodbank and they said they were too afraid to pick up their food hampers – three of the off-site locations are closed so food can only be picked up at the central location on Elmbridge Way.

Taking a couple buses to city centre didn’t feel safe.

The message Reid got from the foodbank clients was that “the exposure amount is not worth the risk.”

Younger mothers enrolled in the Colts program, that allows them to finish their education, were getting Foodbank deliveries from senior volunteers, but these volunteers have had to take a backseat as the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak keeps them from going out in the community.

Social workers stepped up to do the deliveries until the Richmond COVID-19 Facebook group rustled up some volunteer drivers.

This week, the group administrator Chris Dinnell will deliver food to five households, but, going forward, the Facebook group has 20 drivers to do the deliveries.

The Facebook group is also looking at how they can reach out to isolated seniors during this crisis.

Reid has also enlisted her Steveston Rocks group to paint messages of hope on rocks and she and her children delivered some on Monday morning and “planted” them in the palm tree in front of Richmond Hospital.

She is getting other families to paint 100 rocks all together to thank health-care workers for the work they’re doing throughout the pandemic.

“It gives other parents and kids a purpose … to thank our health-care heroes,” she said.

The COVID-19 Facebook group is posting resources, calls for help and other pertinent information on their page as the community grapples with the pandemic.

The COVID-19 Richmond Coming Together Facebook group can be found here

They can also be reached by email at comingtogetherrichmond@gmail.com.

For more COVID-19 coverage, go here.

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