Students create online platform to help their Kamloops neighbours

Locals helping locals

Another network of Kamloops volunteers looking to lend a hand during the pandemic has surfaced online.

Helpful Neighbor is the brainchild of Young Seo and James Bates; both grew up in the Tournament Capital and are now in their second year of engineering at universities in Ontario. 

When they returned to Kamloops earlier this month, they wanted to do something locally.

"The situation worsened a lot faster on the East Coast compared to here, so we were very aware of the difficulties of seniors and people with underlying conditions had going outside, going to the grocery store, or going to the pharmacy," Seo tells Castanet. "We wanted to come back and ...build a platform to help those elderly people, so if or when it gets that bad, we have a way to help people in the community."

The two friends reached out to their graduating class at St. Ann's Academy, got a handful of volunteers and created the Helpful Neighbor website. 

For no cost at all, the small army of volunteers will run errands (like grocery or prescription pickup) for anyone who isn't comfortable leaving their home.

"For James and I, especially, the biggest motivation was that we just  had such a great childhood here growing up, and it was such a welcoming community, and while we were  young, the community helped us get to where we are," says Seo. "Now that we are in a position lend a hand, we wanted to (do this)."

He adds they have been asked to give rides, but due to advice from public health officials, they have to deny those requests. 

People who would like to access Helpful Neighbor can put in a request by texting or calling 250-819-3712.  

To volunteer, send an email to [email protected].

Caremongering – Kamloops is another local group trying to grant wishes and keep people connected.

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