HELPING HANDS: In just 24 hours, Annika Korsgaard began implementing her idea to start a non-contact shopping and delivery service to help the ageing community member most vulnerable to COVID-19 in the Ballina Shire.
HELPING HANDS: In just 24 hours, Annika Korsgaard began implementing her idea to start a non-contact shopping and delivery service to help the ageing community member most vulnerable to COVID-19 in the Ballina Shire.

At risk of coronavirus? Meet your (free) personal shopper

AFTER seeing distressed elderly people trying to shop in Ballina, Annika Korsgaard knew how she could help.

In just 24 hours, The Lennox Head resident began implementing her idea to start a non-contact shopping and delivery service to help the ageing community members most vulnerable to COVID-19.

Ms Korsgaard posted notices on several Facebook groups in the Ballina Shire, offering to shop for the elderly and home deliver their groceries and medications for free.

Within hours she received numerous offers of assistance from other people volunteering their time to serve the community.

This prompted her to build a basic website overnight called HELP! to manage the rapid influx of requests for assistance and volunteer offers.

"I had no idea this was going to spark any attention beyond a few people needing some help," the multidisciplinary researcher said.

"I am so thrilled that a lot more people are coming on board to help serve the community in any way they can.

"At first this was just intended to be a service for the elderly, but with the extra volunteers we should be able to assist other at-risk members of our community, in particular those people who have disabilities or who live alone and are recovering from surgery and don't have any assistance."

She said the scope and reach of extending the service depended on how many volunteers got on board.

"I have even received a lovely offer of free home delivered meals for the most needy from a local restaurant," she said.

"These challenging times have brought out the worst and the best in people. I want to encourage positivity and connectivity rather than fear-based, self-serving attitudes."

Help! provides the following services:

Shopping at any store in Ballina (multiple shops can be visited so the clients get the items and brands they want)

Medications collected and home delivered

Art and craft supplies

Post Office runs to post and collect mail

Friendly phone call for people isolated who want human contact

All deliveries will be left at your front door to ensure your health and safety

Grocery payments can be made in cash or by direct deposit once you have received your shopping and receipts.

If you need help, or would like to volunteer or donate, go to www.helpourcommunity.com.au or call Annika on 0419 284 868.