The Student Volunteer Army (SVA) has mobilised yet again to support New Zealanders in a time of need.
The organisation which was founded to help the community in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquakes has grown exponentially since then and now has students from across the motu ready and willing to lend a hand during the current pandemic.
Founder and Chief Executive of SVA, Sam Johnson says, “We promised we would be here if the delivery service was needed again and the demand is absolutely there, so we’ve mobilised and are ready to receive orders from people who need our help.”
Last year, the grocery delivery service put together in association with New World supermarkets in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, saw thousands of volunteers helping out and this year the contactless deliveries to the villages is a boon to our Ryman residents who are staying at home during the nationwide lockdowns.
It is also available to anyone in the community who is elderly, alone, in self isolation, immunocompromised, or has no other way to access food.
Residents at Rita Angus Retirement Village in Wellington have been delighted with the caring response from the students and often add a special chocolate bar to their orders for the student to say thank you.
SVA is more than a contactless grocery delivery service providing peace of mind and an all-important human connection. “The service can be used by families to make sure their vulnerable relatives who live alone have access to essential groceries and there’s often a socially distanced conversation with one of our student volunteers, which can be a real boost,” explains Sam.
Rita Angus Retirement Village residents, Alison Scott and Marie Henderson are thrilled to receive their deliveries from the Wellington SVA members Ethan Foster and Neelum Patel.
This has proven to be the case at Rita Angus where some student volunteers call the resident to ensure they are doing ok, and everything is right with their order. One even left a reassuring note with her groceries:
“I hope you are doing ok - please know you are not alone in this and it will be over soon. There was a crumpet shortage today – I’m sorry! Sending lots of warm positive energy to you, from your new friend.”
Ethan Foster who delivered groceries to the village said, “Helping others who aren't able to get out and shop is a good and important thing to do during lockdown and better than sitting at home. 100% you feel better helping out,”
Neelum Patel is a researcher, but when she saw on Instagram that the SVA needed more shoppers, she willingly took up the call. She liked the community connection and the opportunity to see and help people. Resident, Alison Scott said they are very grateful for the deliveries.