The OCCA continues to help seniors and immunocompromised individuals even as COVID-19 pandemic slowly winds down. (Black Press Media File)

The OCCA continues to help seniors and immunocompromised individuals even as COVID-19 pandemic slowly winds down. (Black Press Media File)

Kelowna-based community association helping seniors through pandemic

The community group is helping seniors from Kelowna, West Kelowna and Peachland

A community group based in Kelowna continues to help seniors in various neighbourhoods even as COVID-19 cases start to slow down and the province starts to ease restrictions.

The Okanagan Chinese-Canadian Association’s (OCCA) president Ling Fu launched the ‘Love and Help’ initiative in February, when many Chinese-Canadians started to return home after celebrating the Lunar New Year overseas.

OCCA general administrator Hua Meng said in the beginning, they helped the people coming back to Canada by driving their vehicles to the airport so they can drive themselves home to self-isolate, which eliminated the possibility of exposing anyone else to COVID-19.

“We also helped them do their grocery shopping while they’re in self-quarantine. (When we started), there was no government order for travellers to self-quarantine, but we exercised caution and a lot of people (from the Chinese-Canadian community) stayed home so they can keep their community safe,” she said.

But even though the number of travellers returning home has gone down, the work continues but it has since expanded. Meng said the federal government requested they continue helping the vulnerable, so the OCCA decided to offer support not just to the Chinese-Canadian community, but to anyone who may need them.

The OCCA provides the service for seniors in Peachland, West Kelowna, and various Kelowna neighbourhoods including Rutland, Glenmore, Upper Mission, and downtown. Meng said when they receive requests for help outside of their usual spots, they coordinate with their volunteers so they can meet the need.

Richard Du is a volunteer with the OCCA and according to Meng, he was the go lunteer who bore the brunt of the work when the initiative first launched in February.

“At the beginning of the virus outbreak, we realized that locally, we need to take action and control the disease’s spread right away,” Du said.

He added they’ve lost count of the people they’ve helped and the volunteers who are involved as many people jumped in to help since the beginning.

Meng and Du both said they are both happy the group is helping so many and that they’ve helped keep the vulnerable in the community safe.

The OCCA is still accepting requests from seniors and individuals who may be immunocompromised. To request for help, call the OCCA at 778-484-6222.

If you know others who are giving back and helping those in need during this critical time, send us an email and let us know!

READ: Lake Country ArtWalk cancelled due to COVID-19

READ: West Kelowna nixes Music in the Park for 2020


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
Follow me on Twitter

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