Volunteers help elderly during lockdown

A UCT student has started a volunteer group, Cape Town Against Corona, to help the city’s elderly through the Covid-19 crisis.

Business science student Kate Charter says she wanted to use her time away from the university to do something productive.

“I came across a similar organisation (now partnering with us) called Shopping Angels in America and found nothing had been set up in South Africa. I just took the initiative and set up Cape Town Against Corona.”

More than 150 people have signed up as volunteers since the initiative started in mid-March, and Kate said she has had many offers of help from companies around the city.

Last Thursday, the volunteers helped Meals on Wheels deliver to the 500 elderly. Some volunteers have also developed relationships with the seniors and deliver to them without even going through the initiative.

“This is exactly what I wanted though, for the Cape Town community to come together and look out for each other; the organisation just being a platform to help this connection happen,” said Kate.

She has had help from fellow students and UCT staff including Dr Leon Geffen, an honorary senior lecturer in the Division of Geriatric Medicine with the Albertina and Walter Sisulu Institute of Ageing in Africa and the executive director of the Samson Institute For Ageing Research (SIFAR).

“He has offered me so much help and support, from having the team at SIFAR develop online databases for my pairing of volunteers and elderly, to putting me in contact with those in the Cape Town community who could help spread the word of the organisation and offer me the best advice going forward.”

Kate is determined to continue operating through the lockdown, but at the moment volunteers will only be paired with elderly in their area to avoid complications. Contact Kate at capetown
againstcovid19@gmail.com and follow the group on Facebook.