Love your neighbour - providing help in the current pandemic

By Sanjay Mahtani

painted heart on wall

This page will be updated as advice changes. Last updated 1 May 2020.

All of us are keen to follow the teaching of Jesus to love our neighbour. But how do we do that in the current pandemic, in a way that is loving and caring, and doesn't harm our neighbour, ourselves, or the wider community? 

In this, OCC is not an expert! Our headline is to FOLLOW GOVERNMENT ADVICE - in what follows we're going to highlight government advice, and give you the links so you can dig deeper as you need. 

Volunteering arrangements 

As a primary way of responding, we are encouraging you to create a 'Street Champions' WhatsApp group to connect with your immediate community. You can use this #viralkindness postcard. (For Oxford City residents, Oxford Hub are seeking to coordinate Street Champions - see link below)

If you want to connect with other ways of helping, the best way is to join one of the official volunteering arrangements, and they will give you clear guidance on what to do:

  • FoodBoxes is an initiative of Tyndale Community School to provide food for local families who are experiencing illness or financial hardship. Designed to feed a family of four for seven days, these cost less than £20 per box and are entirely funded by generous donations. To volunteer, find out more click here, and the link to donate is here. You can also listen back to Matt Watt, TCS Principal sharing more about FoodBoxes on BBC Radio Oxford.
  • GoodSAM - The NHS is looking for volunteers to provide free-of-charge assistance to patients and other individuals in need. For example, a telephone befriending service, help with daily living tasks (like shopping) and help with transport. Volunteers are free to decide what support they are able to provide and when. Sign up here.
  • The Oxford Hub - linking up local needs with willing volunteers, and coordinating across the city. Sign up here.
  • Oxfordshire All In - an Oxfordshire-wide resource coordinating community response - More info here

Helping your own neighbour

What is the advice for those wanting simply to help out household-to-household, with a neighbour in need? 

Let's start simple! AgeUK have shared some really clear advice, applicable for all of us who are seeking to support neighbours, not just those that are elderly:

  • Keep in touch - use the phone or perhaps talk over the fence!
  • Show you care - find creative ways of keeping people's spirits up!
  • Shopping - leave the shopping on the doorstep, knock on the door and step back while you ensure they safely receive it.

What about people who need more help, or who are self-isolating?