Makayla Goldsmith of Langley (left) came up with the idea of an online COVID-19 support group after witnessing an irate shopper collide with her mom, Judy. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Online support group created to help cope with COVID-19

Langley woman was inspired by unpleasant incident while shopping with her mother

After Makayla Goldsmith witnessed an angry shopper collide with her mother Judy at a local grocery store, the Langley City resident was inspired to create an online support group to help people get through the COVID-19 virus outbreak.

When Makalya and Judy went to pick up some dog food last week, they ran into long lineups of people trying to stock up at the store, and, memorably, one angry older woman who forced her way past the lineup at the checkout and knocked Judy’s cane from her hand.

“She came barreling past everybody, pushing them aside,” Makayla recalled.

A little while later, Makayla decided it would be good to have a place where people can connect during the current COVID-19 crisis, helping one another instead of viewing other people as opponents.

“It’s something that people are seeing on the news every day and they are upset and scared,” Makalya told the Langley Advance Times.

Her Facebook page, “Covid Community Support (Greater Vancouver area)” aims to correct that by giving people a place to share information, trade tips, and help one another get through the crisis.

Two hours after she set it up on Saturday, 100 people had joined.

“If you are in need of help, let us know your needs and what area you are in,” the invitation read.

“If you have been helped, please let us know as well. If you need even daily check-ins because you are self-isolating let us know, we can help with that, too.”

It is for people who feel comfortable going shopping or running quick errands for those who are at risk going out,” Makayla explained.

Everything from shopping, to taking someone’s dog for a walk, and daily check-ins, are all things that people can ask for on the page.

READ ALSO: Langley doctors now able to refer patients to COVID-19 testing clinics

There is no charge, with the only money being exchanged for what is being spent on groceries or other items people need.

“Help out someone in your community in this time of uncertainty and anxiety for many of us,” the message concluded.

By Monday afternoon, the number who had joined was close to 500 and was continuing to climb.

“It goes up every hour,” Makayla observed.

Judy is among the people most at risk from the virus, which attacks the lungs and kills by causing pneumonia.

Mom recounted how she survived “several pneumonias.”

“I felt like I was drowning, and it’s a terrifying experience.”

“I’m a healthy young person,” Makayla commented.

“I don’t have a lot to worry about myself [from the virus], but this could be really dangerous to my mom,” Makayla said.

“I don’t want to lose my mom. I love her.”

READ ALSO: Volunteers wanted to shop for seniors during virus outbreak

Mikayla hopes the page will connect the able-bodied to those most in need.

“Everybody knows somebody who is elderly or immune-compromised,” Makayla said.

Judy was impressed by her oldest daughter’s venture.

“I am super proud,” Judy said.

“I think people are aware that they need to come together as a community,” Judy added.

“It’s time to make connections. Many people don’t even know their next door neighbour.”

Mom hopes the fledgling network, which has already spread into the lower Fraser Valley, will be able to help students at risk, too.

“There are a lot of student who are homeless or couch-surfing,” Judy observed, making them particularly at risk.

In addition to connecting through the Facebook page, anyone who lacks internet access can participate can by phoning 604-446-7523.

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