Sudbury volunteers lend a helping hand during the pandemic
SUDBURY -- A new initiative in Sudbury is giving people the option to have items delivered to their doorstep.
Whether people are self-isolating, unable to go to the grocery store or are in need of some extra help during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Greater Sudbury Community COVID-19 Response and Relief team is available to help.
"We're just Sudburians helping Sudburians," said Alexandra Millar, the organizer of the initiative. "We really just want to lend a metaphorical hand out to those in need."
The group is offering two different services within the city: a grocery delivery program for those who are unable to or don't want to leave their homes and a donation program for those who are facing financial hardship during this time.
"There are so many resources today for people that are in need, but the more resources the better," said Millar. "Obviously, there are some people that can fall through the cracks and it's just better to put as much help out there as possible."
The initiative already has 20 volunteers on board ready to help.
Since it launched about a week ago, 15 donation packages have already been delivered and five grocery shop deliveries have been completed.
Millar says the experience has been incredibly heartwarming so far.
"We're just here to help one another and it's been great. They've been very thankful. But I really don't like receiving the thanks. It really feels kind of silly to say 'you're welcome.' I think that it's just our jobs to help one another during this time," said Millar.
Lauren Knox, a volunteer with the initiative who has been putting together a lot of donation deliveries, says the response has been amazing.
"We've received a ton of messages saying 'thank you so much,' 'what you guys are doing is amazing' and it's helping,' which is obviously great to hear. That's the whole reason we're doing it. Because we have the means to help our community and not everybody does," said Knox.
People in need of assistance can fill out a form online for either of the two delivery options.
Those looking for grocery deliveries will receive a call from one of the volunteers to form a list and work out details. And those in need of donations can check off what they need most through the website so that volunteers, like Millar and Knox, can put together a package.
For grocery deliveries, the hope is that people will be able to e-transfer the funds so that no contact has to be made between the volunteers and residents. Officials with the response and relief team say physical distancing is very important during this time and something that everyone is taking very seriously.
"We'll just say 'hey, I'm on my way with your package' and then we'll text them when we get there," said Knox when explaining how the delivery system works. "And then, they'll come out and I'll give them a little wave. So, we're still really practicing and stressing the importance of social distancing."
Knox reached out to her old high school, Confederation Secondary School, who donated every single food item it had in their "Value Vault" to help the group get started. The school's program helps students who might need extra food items and is also accepting donations, including food, hygiene products, cleaning supplies and others, from anyone who might be able to give back.
"Anybody can reach out to us, we're here to help," said Knox.
Organizers say they are hoping that this initiative will continue to grow so that they can continue to help people through this tough time.
"Right now, I think everybody's plans and our timelines are all fairly uncertain and we're just all kind of winging it," said Millar. "I will probably be doing this for as long as we have to and until we return to a little bit of normalcy."