Auckland woman creates coronavirus care packages for elderly struggling during COVID-19 pandemic

An example of the care packages Richardson is making for vulnerable people in her community.
An example of the care packages Richardson is making for vulnerable people in her community. Photo credit: Mellissa Richardson

An Auckland woman says she has received huge support for her coronavirus care packages which are aimed at helping elderly people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Thursday, Mellissa Richardson posted on Facebook about her plan to create care packages of essential items and drop them off to vulnerable people in her community. 

Richardson told Newshub she has received numerous large donations since her post. 

"I was thinking of just little care packs and it's slowly turning into my second job. We have had large donations of canned food, hand sanitiser, and groceries which is great." 

"We have had all positive feedback and offers of help and support have been huge. We are currently collecting items and will be packing next week." 

The packages will include essentials like toilet paper, bars of soap, tissues, hand sanitiser, canned food, rice, pasta, biscuits, tea and coffee, and wet wipes.

Richardson said she has a small group of volunteers making the packages in an effort to reduce the risk. 

"I am keeping the helpers to a few as I want to keep things as safe as possible for everyone.

"We will use gloves and ensure hand hygiene when packing and follow the same rules as couriers to try and keep people safe."

The idea for the packages came from Richardon's 17-year-old daughter who noticed an elderly couple struggling with their shopping. 

"My daughter was watching an elderly couple trying to do the shopping and there was so much stuff gone from the shelves...they were struggling.

"Then I thought about a lady I knew who lived on her own in a little flat and how scared she used to be about busing and things before the virus and I wondered what we could do to help," Richardson said. 

She said she plans to drop off the packages to elderly people in the community on Wednesday and Thursday next week. 

"I thought about the pensioner flats within our community and have suggested if there are other people who might like a care pack to contact me here."

Richardson said her "goal was to make a few people smile and to remind them we care".

There are currently 28 confirmed cases of coronavirus in New Zealand. 

The Ministry of Health says the best way to stay safe is to regularly wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow, clean surfaces frequently, and stay home if you're sick.

How can I protect myself? 

  • avoid touching the mouth, nose and eyes with unwashed hands
  • washing your hands before eating
  • carrying a hand sanitiser at all times
  • being particularly mindful of touching your face after using public transport or going to the airport
  • carry tissues at all times to cover the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing (then dispose of it)
  • not eating shared or communal food
  • avoiding shaking hands, kissing cheeks
  • regularly cleaning and sanitise commonly used surfaces and items, such as phones and keys
  • avoiding close contact with people suffering from or showing symptoms of acute respiratory infection
  • seeking medical attention if you feel unwell.