Amid stories of people hoarding toilet paper, a number of Yellowknifers are stepping up to take care of one another.
One of those people is Sheila Champion, who spent Monday night putting together 50 care packages for seniors and people living with disabilities or high-risk conditions.
Another is Adeel Moghal, who has offered to help with grocery runs for people at a higher risk of catching Covid-19. Meanwhile, a Facebook group named Caremongering YK gained dozens of members, all offering to help those in need as the coronavirus pandemic take hold.
Champion is even making hand sanitizer for people using rubbing alcohol. “That stuff is like gold right now,” she said.
The care packages Champion is making also include the likes of bathroom tissue and non-perishable food.
With help from a separate Facebook group she started, Champion is developing a list of people who could use some extra support – and finding more people who want to volunteer every hour.
“I started it because I wanted to do something to help,” she said, adding her group “has the ability to being everyone together to help, rather than panicking.
“I have had a couple of women who sent donations to help fund the supplies for the bags. Another gentleman bought 40 spray bottles from Miniso [to make hand sanitizer].”
‘All the young people should be helping’
Champion is accepting non-perishable food donations and looking for pump bottles she can fill with hand soap. She is also coordinating offers from people who have volunteered to do grocery runs for those who can’t leave their homes.
If it turns out all 50 packages of supplies aren’t needed, she plans to donate the leftovers to transitional housing programs or food banks.
“I just wanted to make life a little easier right now for people who might not have the funds to buy extra,” she said, adding she has been blown away by the generosity of people who want to help gather and distribute supplies.
“I spent all day going from store to store to store to get these things – I can’t imagine someone with less mobility to move around, how hard it would be to get around the city,” she continued.
“I think people are so focused on themselves and making sure their needs are met,” she said, “but don’t go to the point you are taking so much you are hoarding. People who desperately need things to survive can’t get them.”
Moghal has also noticed panic-buying taking place at NWT grocery stores – and soon realized there weren’t may seniors in those stores at the time.
Those seniors that were there, Moghal said, “were not able to get whatever they were looking for because stronger and younger people were grabbing whatever was available.”
He realized how hard something like grocery shopping could be for seniors in the present climate.
Like Champion, Moghal is now working with volunteers to help carry out grocery runs for those who need the help.
“This is a time where we should be helping,” he said.
“All the young people should be helping all the Elders so they can stay inside.”