Initiative to support elderly

2020-03-24 06:02

Kate Charter, a first-year Business Science student at the University of Cape Town (UCT), says the response to her online campaign to organise students and other volunteers to assist the elderly with grocery shopping and deliveries has been “crazy positive”.

Within one day of posting her call to action on social media and WhatsApp groups, the 19-year-old had already received hundreds of messages from people wanting to help.

Kate says the idea came to her when she heard the university would be closed in response to the Covid-19 crisis.

“I was planning to fly home to my parents in the UK, but that was no longer possible. I thought, well, I could spend the next three weeks watching Netflix or I could do something that would help others,” she says.

She says she had seen a post on Instagram describing how people were helping the elderly in the United States of America (USA) who had been placed in isolation.

“I realised that South Africans would have the same problem, so I got up on Tuesday (17 March), called a few people and posted the idea on Facebook as well as on the UCT’s scuba diving and tennis WhatsApp groups. The response was overwhelming.”

Kate says since then it has become somewhat of a movement.

“We just need to spread the word, to get in contact with the elderly who would like to receive services, as well as gather volunteers to deliver food packages with us or to go purchase the groceries they need,” she says.

Besides grocery shopping, people have also come forward saying they would be glad to take elderly people’s dogs for walks or to the vet if needs be.

Offers to take the elderly to clinics for check-ups, or to donate money for petrol have also come in.

“I hope that this project will become a channel to unite Capetonians – a quick, easy and reliable way to connect an elderly person with a volunteer living close to them.

“Eventually, this could even evolve into a caring relationship to help combat the loneliness that comes with being isolated.”

Kate is currently in the process of coordinating how it is all going to work; to build a trustworthy group of volunteers.

When People’s Post checked in with Kate on Friday, 20 March, she said the initiative had progressed well.

V To get involved, join the Facebook group at or the WhatsApp group at


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