Support groups coming to the aid of the gravely ill and elderly who are unable to go to the supermarket

A trip to the supermarket has been made much more difficult amid the coronavirus lockdown, and for those who are gravely unwell or over 70, it’s now out of bounds.

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A trip to the supermarket isn't what it used to be and for the unwell, and those over 70 it's now out of bounds. Source: 1 NEWS

Christchurch woman Lynne Deavoll, who is immunosuppressed, is afraid she will become ill.

"I'm just scared I’m going to get sick and I can’t afford that,” she said.

A severe diabetic with low immunity, Ms Deavoll fears a trip to the supermarket could kill her, but online shopping is failing to deliver.

“I’m sitting up ‘til midnight every night and generally, the minute the clock strikes midnight, the website freezes because there’s such a demand.

“You have to eat your morning cereal without milk or anything.”

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New Zealand entrepreneur of the year Nick Mowbray has started his own food bank. Source: Seven Sharp

However, it’s not just the unwell who are stuck, with people over the age of 70 - 10 per cent of the New Zealand - also struggling to keep their cupboards full.

Friends in Need NZ, a group set up to help support at-risk individuals, already has 500 volunteers making daily phone calls and dropping groceries at the door.

“It's really a terrifying time for a lot of people who are living alone or isolated and aren't able to communicate with family and friends, and so we were inspired to do something like lots of people around the country to help our community,” Friends in Need’s Bridget Snelling said.

“It makes a huge difference. It means that I don't have to call on other people who could be vulnerable,” one woman said.

Advocacy group Grey Power has since called for designated shopping times for those over 70 who are unable to shop online.

Civil Defence has set up a plan to help people in need of assistance access essential household goods and services during the nationwide lockdown.

Civil Defence Emergency Management Canterbury group controller Neville Reilly said that, in partnership with the Christchurch City Council and all district councils in Canterbury, a local helpline is now operating to help vulnerable people who are unable to access essentials such as food and medication.

"These measures will particularly assist the disabled, at risk groups, and people who cannot access these services themselves.

"This service is intended for those facing hardship and is offered in addition to a range of other support measures provided by other agencies, particularly the Ministry of Social Development.

“We request that, if you are able to provide for yourself at this time, please help by keeping the line free for those who need urgent assistance.”

Residents who need assistance can call 0800 24 24 11. For Christchurch city, the helpline will operate 24/7. For other districts, the helpline will function during normal council business hours.