Kamloops residents create volunteer database to help with COVID-19 | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops residents create volunteer database to help with COVID-19

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK

People in Kamloops and the surrounding areas can now access a new online platform to help healthy volunteers connect with those who can’t leave their homes because of COVID-19.

A Facebook group that started to connect the Kamloops community during the period of self-isolation has led to the creation of the online platform to connect local do-gooders with the at-risk population.

AnnMarie Aase started the Facebook group Caremongering - Kamloops last week after hearing of similar groups in other parts of the country.

“I did a quick search and found out nothing existed in Kamloops, so without even batting an eye I started a group. Within 30 seconds I had members requesting to be in it,” Aase says. “I knew that people were going to jump in, but I didn't think as large or this fast…. I think we all knew we wanted to help, and this was just the outlet that came up first to help.”

Within 48 hours, there were 1,400 members. Now one week old, the group has more than 2,400 people who share tips to stay positive and help one another.

“I’ve realized where we're going to need to come together is (reaching) out in a safe manner (on) how to self isolate but stay connected as a community,” Aase says. “It came about as people wanting to help run errands for their neighbours, but I think it’s going to end up becoming for the greater purpose of helping people... who are not used to being indoors (connect), and that’s going to be really important as time wears on.”

Aase soon realized the Facebook group wasn’t the most user-friendly platform for her goal of connecting volunteers with at-risk individuals, so some of the group members used their computer skills to create a website.

Gisela Ruckert coordinated the team of six who worked to create the platform.

“It’s so inspiring to see the numbers of people who are wanting to help,” Ruckert says. “For me, working on it and the people who are volunteering, we'll have that satisfaction of contributing the best way we can.”

The website is now accepting volunteer signups, and will then accept applications from those needing help. Leaders in each community will help to facilitate their local volunteer efforts. Ruckert also says some people in outlying communities, such as Barriere, have also shown their interest in signing up.

“You can’t very well pick up your prescription on the computer, so every now and then there will be someone needing assistance and we’ll offer assistance to them in a safe way,” Ruckert says.

Aase says she'll be happiest when the group doesn't need to exist anymore

“I think what my favourite point of this entire group will be the day we can kill it,” Aase says. “It’ll say we came through this alive, we came through it successful, and we can start bringing our lives back to a new normal.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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