Where shopping help is just a call away

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Krishna Nadimpalli… “We cannot put our seniors in public transport to get their essentials such as medicines and groceries.” Photo: Senthan Thani

PASSIONATE about helping vulnerable people in the community, Bruce resident Kelli Hughes put out a sign inviting neighbours to message her if they need essential items during the coronavirus crisis.

The 72-year-old put the sign out on Thynne Street, Bruce, a few weeks ago, saying: “To my neighbours, if you need to isolate yourself because of COVID-19, I’m offering to pick up essential groceries and pharmacy items.”

Even though the sign says groceries and pharmacy items, Kelli’s not opposed to getting other stuff for people in need. 

“I’m prepared to have a conversation and ask people what they really need during this time,” she says.

But, she says she’ll only be taking items to people in the Bruce area. 

Kelli Hughes… offering to pick up essential groceries and pharmacy items. Photo: Danielle Nohra

“I’m assuming people who have seen the sign will be within walking distance of me,” she says. 

When people do call for items, Kelli says she will get the items and then leave them in a bag at the door and let the person know.

Kelli, who started the community library in Bruce about five years ago, and who belongs to a Baptist church that encourages the support of vulnerable people, isn’t a stranger to volunteering and helping others. 

“I’ve been doing stuff like this for more than 50 years,” she says. 

And even though Kelli is classified as being at a “higher risk” of getting the virus because of her age, she says she is not worried but is very alert to the risks.

“I am doing a lot to look after my health,” she says.

“I’m typically a transport user but I’m not using the buses at the moment. I am socially isolating myself, even though that’s hard for me because I’m an extravert and a widower. I live alone so this will be challenging for me.”

Kelli’s not alone in wanting to help, and in Gungahlin, a group to help deliver groceries and other items to vulnerable people in the region has been started.

Krishna Nadimpalli, a recently retired environmental scientist and ACT Liberal candidate, started the Facebook group called the “Gungahlin coronavirus self-isolation support group” in a bid to help people in the local community.

We are preparing the network to support the vulnerable people who are likely to be isolated soon,” says Krishna, 60, of Amaroo, who has already had a few people call and ask for help.

“The coronavirus situation is in front of us and instead of talking about what will help, I wanted to do something that will help people now.

“We’re offering help to anyone who can’t risk going out and doing their grocery shopping, or getting medicine.”

Krishna, with a group of about 20 volunteers, says they will help seniors, people with disabilities, people with health problems, people in isolation and homeless people. 

Krishna’s still not sure how he will help homeless people yet, but he is working on ideas where the group can help them, too.

The group volunteers also stress their willingness to help older people, who are more at risk to the virus.

“We want to help older people. They need to be isolated right now and we need to prevent spreading the virus to these older people,” Krishna says. 

“We cannot put our seniors in public transport to get their essentials such as medicines and groceries.”

So far, the group is restricted to Gungahlin, but Krishna says he is not opposed to helping people in other areas, too. 


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Danielle Nohra
Danielle Nohra is a "CityNews" staff journalist.

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