Submitted by Caremongering-Kamloops:
As the threat of COVID-19 loomed, and inspired by a national movement to help, the Facebook group Caremongering – Kamloops was formed. The group seeks to help those in need as well as share creative ways to stay sane while staying home. Supporting local businesses as much as possible is another goal.
Creator AnnMarie Aase said the response to the group has been almost overwhelming as people have jumped on board to help. In one week, over 2,500 members joined the group. “As the wildfire experience showed, Kamloops has a huge community of volunteer heroes always willing to step up to the plate.”
As the number of Facebook posts grew, volunteer organizers looked to better coordinate volunteers with those in need and created N2N (for neighbour-to-neighbour), a web portal that matches offers from volunteers with requests from those who need help.
Says Gisela Ruckert, one of the N2N creators, “The requests will be matched within specific neighbourhoods as much as possible. So someone in Juniper Ridge might walk a dog for someone nearby who is housebound, for example.”
Ruckert pointed out that while in-person services will be available as needed, the intent is to provide as much connection as possible through virtual means. “Supporting mental health while we’re self-isolating is also important. We’ve had people stepping up to offer online yoga classes, tutoring, and even organize virtual cooking classes.”
Aase stressed that volunteers are required to follow recommended guidelines for social distancing and disinfection.
“Our first priority is to help each other, and facilitate others helping others in a safe way based on current information. But this crisis is new, and our knowledge on how to do things is evolving as are the needs of the group day by day,” she said. N2N is entirely volunteer-run and services are offered by Good Samaritans, not professionals.
Volunteers can register themselves already at www.kamloopscares.ca. Those requesting help will have to wait a few days longer.
“We want to make sure the system works well, and our volunteers are in place before we start accepting requests,” says Ruckert. “This project is less than a week old and our organizing team has been working full out.” ROI Media Works and Adroit Technologies are providing technical support.
They say that crisis brings out our true nature. If that’s the case, then Kamloops is truly a gem. #WeGotThisKamloops