Vernon’s NexusBC staff are using United Way’s Mobilizing Local Love initiative to help vulnerable people get their needs met during self-isolation. (Contributed)

COVID-19: Online tool helps vulnerable people in North Okanagan receive aid

United Way’s tool connects those in need with pre-screened volunteers in the local area

Staff at Vernon’s NexusBC are ready to help seniors and those vulnerable get what they need during self-isolation, all thanks to an online tool developed by United Way.

Mobilizing Local Love is a tool designed to connect people vulnerable to COVID-19 with pre-screened volunteers who can help with a variety of needs, whether it’s a grocery or prescription pickup, a friendly phone call, dog walking, yard work or help with technology.

Those in need of extra help while self-isolating can sign up at www.bc211.ca and fill out an online form, or call 211. Those who want to volunteer can also register and apply on the website.

“Volunteers and existing social service agencies are of crucial importance for isolated seniors during this time of physical distancing,” said Kahir Lalji, executive director for United Way Southern Interior B.C.

“B.C. 211 operators are taking messages from seniors and sending them on to Nexus’s Better at Home program in Vernon, Lumby, Cherryville, and Armstrong.”

Launched Wednesday, April 1, the program is referred to as Safe Seniors, Strong Communities on bc211.ca. NexusBC and the Community Foundation of the North Okanagan have partnered to provide the service in the local area.

“Collaboration has always been one of our strengths in the Okanagan,” said Leanne Hammond, executive director of the Community Foundation. “Utilizing United Way’s 211 service, pooling some funding, and utilizing the existing framework and talent at NexusBC, will ensure people receive the services they need at this difficult time.”

“We encourage you to think about volunteering to help someone in your neighbourhood,” said Nexus executive director Kelly Johnson. “This is an incredibly challenging time and we all need to be able to lean on each other to ensure everyone gets what they need.”

Those who wish to donate can do so through the websites of any of the project partners, or call for more information.

READ MORE: General exposure to public low after inmate tests positive for COVID-19: Interior Health

READ MORE: Trudeau commits $100M to help food banks amid COVID-19 crisis


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
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