An Oxford University student has set up a global initiative to provide food and supplies to those that are self-isolating due to Covid-19.
Frederik Filz von Reiterdank has co-founded Students Against Corona, a student led initiative with the aim of helping vulnerable members of local communities, such as those in isolation, or in high-risk groups.
The initiative is the central point of guidance and contact, and aids individuals in starting their own groups in their local areas; Facebook groups for Oxford, Loughborough and Amsterdam – among numerous others – are already in existence.
Speaking to Cherwell, Filz von Reiterdank emphasised the need for volunteers to follow “the necessary hygiene precautions”. They are providing “hygiene guidelines for specific tasks. For example, for grocery shopping, we’d have a video and textual explanation of the safest way to carry it out”.
Their rules, which volunteers are asked to sign before involvement include: always carrying out tasks with a partner; set hygiene guidelines, such as carrying hand sanitiser and cleaning any items touched (e.g. dog leashes) and taking on tasks solely through representatives for safeguarding purposes.
They have reached out to health officials to ensure their rules to volunteers are consistent with current medical advice, and within the UK are working closely with two NHS directors.
Filz von Reiterdank stressed that many of the issues with current community led initiatives is the reliance on “individuals helping individuals” – he hopes Students Against Corona can eliminate the potential issues that “could harm people”. He wants to harness the community spirit, but provide the necessary infrastructure and advice for this volunteering effort to be carried out safely.
The initiative has seen huge popularity, with 400+ volunteers committed in just 24 hours. In Oxford, they hope to partner with local groups including charities and food banks, as well as with colleges. Signups for both volunteers, and those needing the services, are open via their website, and a GoFundMe has also been set up.