Volunteers deliver groceries, help frontliners during crisis

KUWAIT: In these May 8, 2020 file photos, volunteers organize queues inside and outside a co-op society in Kuwait. — Photos by Fouad Al-Shaikh

By Nawara Fattahova

KUWAIT: Volunteers have played a key role in supporting Kuwait during the coronavirus crisis. From the beginning of the crisis, thousands of people registered to volunteer with the civil defense, co-ops, for delivering food and supplies to those in need and in other ways to support those working on the frontline all over Kuwait.

Thousands of young Kuwaitis have volunteered in co-ops around the country. Until May 10, co-ops were delivering groceries to people at home, but stopped this service due to a decision from the Co-op Union once the full curfew came into effect. The union said this decision was made because some co-ops don’t have enough facilities to provide this service. Also, many did not have permits for being outside during the curfew.

Omar Dashti, a Kuwaiti volunteer, used his own vehicle to help deliver groceries and medicines from co-ops and pharmacies. He has called on the union to resume delivery services. “Many people are scared of becoming infected by the coronavirus, especially after so many cases of infection inside co-ops. So they prefer home delivery, which also reduces crowds at the co-op. Also, elderly and disabled people face difficulty reaching the co-op, so this delivery service is necessary for them,” Dashti told Kuwait Times.

He is a civilian employee at the ministry of interior, and with a national holiday declared over this crisis, he doesn’t go to work. “So I decided to volunteer in delivering the needs of consumers. I registered since the first day of the partial curfew on March 22, and have been delivering for all co-ops around Kuwait. After stopping the delivery services from co-ops on May 10, we are now delivering for pharmacies,” Dashti said.

“I work with the Amerni Limousine Company, which provides their vehicles along with drivers to deliver the needs of consumers free of charge. Now we only deliver from pharmacies, mostly Royal Pharmacy, as they have over 50 operational branches. Demand is very high on the pharmacies, and operators cannot even take all the calls. As they don’t have a delivery service, they depend on us,” he explained.

Dashti also distributes water at police checkpoints in different areas and sanitizers to those working on the frontlines. “I consider volunteering a national duty. My colleagues, the officers, are working during this crisis, so I feel it’s necessary to support them and help through my volunteering. I hope that the co-op delivery service will return soon, especially since there are many people who just returned from outside and they are under home quarantine and can’t leave the house,” concluded Dashti.

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