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Connecting during COVID-19: Student Volunteer Army

Rātā Foundation loves hearing about all the ways community organisations are adapting to the changing COVID-19 Alert Levels and continuing to provide services and innovative initiatives online, and over the phone.

This story is part of Rātā’s Connecting during COVID-19 series. Visit our Community Stories page for more.

For vulnerable people in the community unable to leave their home during COVID-19 getting to the supermarket has turned into mission impossible – but the Student Volunteer Army (SVA) has launched an initiative to help.

SVA started its grocery delivery service to assist those aged over 65, or those that are potentially more vulnerable to COVID-19.

In a great example of collaboration, Student Volunteer Army Founder Sam Johnson says the organisation has teamed up with Foodstuffs, through their New World supermarkets, to provide a platform where people can order groceries for themselves or a loved one.

People can select and pay for their groceries via a custom-built website, or call in their order to a call centre. A local member of SVA will then shop for, collect and deliver their groceries direct to their door.

He says SVA are working closely with Civil Defence and a number of social service organisations to ensure best-practice is followed during the changing COVID-19 Alert Levels. 

Sam says safety is a priority, with volunteers adhering to the strict physical distancing protocols in place at New World and ensuring delivery remains contactless. Volunteers will also be wearing full PPE gear.

Alongside the grocery delivery service, the team at SVA are working with pharmacies to support those who need medications delivered.

Sam hopes the national volunteer response from SVA will ease stress for individuals and whānau’s in need.

Rātā Foundation provides funding to Student Volunteer Army under the Connect focus area, which supports connections and brings people and community organisations together to build strong communities.

For more on Student Volunteer Army’s volunteer response, visit their website: