London VTF delivers groceries for those unable to leave home due to COVID-19

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: EMILY STEWART
London VTF delivers groceries to those at high-risk of a COVID-19 infection or are self-quarantined and don't have friends or family who can bring groceries to them.

A group of volunteers, including Western University students, are dropping off groceries at the doorsteps of Londoners unable to leave home because of 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns.

The London Volunteer Task Force (VTF), a non-affiliated student-run group, provides a no-contact grocery delivery service to those who either self-quarantined or are at high-risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 and do not have family or friends to deliver groceries to them.

“I read a tweet about how an individual helped an elderly couple who were frightened to go into the grocery store and myself, along with a few other students, wanted to help make sure that those who can't or are afraid to go to the grocery store don't have to,” said Maximillian Soltysiak, a fourth-year genetics and biochemistry student.

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The students then went to Facebook and their own circle of friends to spread the word in order to recruit more volunteers. There are between 60 to 70 core volunteers in London, with 50 more in reserve if the need for the service grows. Kitchener-Waterloo and St. Thomas also have their own chapters.

Those looking to use the London VTF services, as noted on the website, can fill out a form to request $100 or less worth of non-perishables and essentials like pastas, dried beans, fresh and frozen vegetables, canned goods, and hygiene items.  Soltysiak said that while the service currently depends on e-transfers, London VTF provides a list of commercial alternatives — Foodfund, Instacart, Grocerocity, Walmart Delivery, and Grocery Guy — for those who cannot pay via e-transfer. 

The volunteers wear gloves while grocery shopping, frequently wash their hands, avoid touching their face, use hand sanitizer, and follow the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) and the Ontario Government’s guidelines.

“While it is a scary and serious time we must remember to help those around us who may not have anyone else to turn to,” Soltysiak said. “While we are helping the best we can everyone should also keep in mind the everyday heroes in the hospitals/clinics, but also those who are working to keep everything operational for us such as those working in our grocery stores, our garbage and recycling collectors, and the truck drivers keeping everything in stock who may seem to be overlooked during this time but we could not live out our lives without their services.”

He added London VTF received a positive response from the community, and that they’re seeing people helping out their neighbours as well.

“It is heartwarming to see everyone in the community rally to help those that need it most.”

Soltysiak said London VTF plans to run the service “for as long as possible until a more concrete alternative is provided by local administrations.” More information can be found on