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Amidst the outbreak, people power shines through

Photo: People power shines through coronavirus
As is often the case in a crisis, amid all the bad news, there are people who rise to the occasion to help their fellow Australians in myriad ways.

Coronavirus has brought out some ugliness in some people, such as hoarding, but amid the fear and panic, others are doing good and helping those most vulnerable.

Communities and businesses are finding ways both new and old to help their neighbours, friends and relatives while self-isolating.

Several apps have been created to assist those most in need, and who may not have the same access to care or essential supplies as they usually would.

The CareMonger app launching on Wednesday allows people within 10km of each other to request help or let others know what they are offering for free.
Users can also send messages to people nearby if they just want to have a chat.

It also provides a way for businesses to connect with locals and provide those experiencing financial pressure or healthcare staff working long shifts with information about food, goods or services they can provide.

A similar app, Nextdoor, is designed to bring neighbourhoods together and provide a way for people to post jobs, safety tips or event information within the community.

It is now becoming a way for neighbours to check on each other and provide help during self-isolation.

Members have offered to drop off toilet paper, sanitary products and food to those in need, with some simply offering some virtual company.

The Mobility app launched on Monday provides a way for families of those who need care to browse, book, and pay for qualified care workers to take care of a loved one who may be far away.

The app is being used by a National Disability Insurance Scheme platform, matching participants with carers using a government-fundied package or credit card.

Despite the bulk of the country being forced to self-isolate, help is not limited to the digital space.

Older Australians are at greater risk of developing mental health issues due to fear of the disease, limited social activities and potentially going weeks without seeing family or friends.

That's something Sydney aged and disability care provider Your Side is trying to prevent.

Most of the people the organisation takes care of aren't digitally savvy and need help remaining connected to the outside world while they're unable to leave home, so they are pulling together a network of pen-pals to keep the elderly company from the comfort of their homes.

In Victoria, two thousand vulnerable people will be fed a meal daily from the kitchens at Parliament House.

About 400 meals will be prepared each day initially before ramping up to 2000.

The food will be handed out to those most in need through community programs run by charities including The Salvation Army, The Lazarus Centre, St Peter's Eastern Hill Anglican Church, the Father Bob Maguire Foundation and Melbourne City Mission.

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