Thursday 28 October 2021

#Coronahulp – COVID-19 may be creating a more caring community

Photo: Brandon Hartley

Despite the panic buying and empty supermarket shelves the coronavirus crisis in the Netherlands is creating a steady stream of new initiatives to help elderly neighbours and people in essential services.

Hundreds of people have signed up to websites, Facebook groups and other projects offering to do pick up groceries, walk dogs and look after children.

Viral Shah, an Indian national living in Amstelveen, told he had set up a Whatsapp group where people can ask for help with doing their shopping. ‘We as an Indian community should come together and help wherever we can in this crisis situation, he said.

In the Hague, Andreea Holwerda-Gavrila gathered almost 400 people in 24 hours for her initiative The Hague Help Corona Virus Isolation. ‘The beauty of this group is to see 400 people, coming from different backgrounds, speaking more than 20 different languages but in fact speaking one language in common and that is care,’ she said.

In Amsterdam there is a new Facebook group Amsterdam Corona Help, which people can use to register their wish to help and attracted over 250 members in a day.

A group of four Dutch students have launched a website ‘Gewoon mensen die mensen willen helpen’ (just people who want to help others), a nationwide service where people offer their services. Over 1,000 people have already signed up.

The hashtag coronahulp is also being used by people offering their services to the elderly or people working in essential sectors. There are similar initiatives in Ede, Utrecht and Nijmegen.

The Red Cross in the Netherlands has also opened a hotline for people who are in quarantine or self-siolation and need help. Ring 070 4455888 for advice, help or a listening ear.

Now we are being encouraged to stay home and reduce the spread of coronavirus, are you helping your neighbours, taking time to sort out that cupboard or just enjoying spending more time with your close family? We’d like to hear from you via

Please note, be aware that private initiatives as those outlined above may not fully comply with government rules on data protection.

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