Harvest Helpers

What is Harvest Helpers?

Harvest Helpers is a North Vancouver Island volunteer-run community service that matches people currently in voluntary self-isolation/quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic with neighbours near them who can help out with occasional basic out-of-home errands.

Who is it for?

Harvest Helpers is only for people who are in self-isolation or quarantine and can not leave their home because of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are able to leave your home, please do not register for assistance.

This service is available to Vancouver Island residents who live north of Campbell River. If you live in or south of Campbell River, use the Beacon Buddies service offered by the Nanaimo Beacon.

Who are we?

This service is operated by community volunteers at Harvest Food Bank in Port Hardy.

I Need Help

Hi there! We’re ready to help and will get you registered in a jiffy!

First, though, you must read the following information. It’s important.

How does this work?
After completing a short confidential form, our volunteers will try to match you with a nearby Harvest Helper. We will email both of you and give each of you the other’s contact information. Then, it’s over to you two!

Important!
Make sure you whitelist “helpers@harvestfoodbank.org” and check your Spam or Promotions folder frequently. If our email goes into your Spam folder and you are not checking it regularly, you will miss your match and we will re-assign your Harvest Helper to someone else.

This is a free service — but it is open only to people who are self-isolating or in quarantine and can not leave their home because of the COVID-19 pandemic (or those who want to help them). This means that we can not accommodate requests for rides.

Now then. Before we sign you up, it’s important that you know some important things about Harvest Helpers:

  1. This is not for you to get free supplies, or a ride. This program is to help people who can not leave their home, and urgently need groceries or prescriptions picked up, etc. If you are registering to try to find basic supplies and you can leave your house, do not register.
  2. Only register if you’re going to need help in the next day or two. Don’t “reserve” a Harvest Helper, because that will take them off our availability list only to have them sit around and wait (and thus unable to help anyone else). We’ll most likely have someone for you when you need help.
  3. We do not do background checks. This is a program run by volunteers — regular citizens, like you. Therefore, participants in this program are not screened in any way. We do not do criminal record checks, driving record checks, or anything. If this is a concern to you, do not participate.
  4. Be VERY cautious about any exchange of money. Whenever possible, we strongly recommend that Harvest Helpers only pick up things that have already been paid for online. If you must have someone shop for you, only reimburse them when you physically have your purchases in your possession.
  5. Please don’t tip. We do this because we care about our communities, not for monetary gain.
  6. Harvest Helpers are prohibited from asking for reimbursement for taxi fare, transit costs, or gas money. If you are asked to provide money for any reason, please contact us immediately — we will replace them with a new Helper and remove them from our registry.
  7. Harvest Helpers are NOT “on call.” Please batch up reasonable requests into things that can be done every other day or so. Remember, they have jobs and families.
  8. We will attempt to match you with someone in your area. If you ever feel uncomfortable or unsafe with your assigned Helper, please contact us and we will re-assign you immediately.
  9. While Helpers are free to make any arrangements you like, the intention of this program is to help people with out-of-home tasks. In other words, tasks that they can not do because they’re not permitted outside in groups of others. It is not intended for tasks like pet walking, interior cleaning, etc.
  10. Harvest Helpers are directed to refuse requests to pick up orders which contain “hoarding” levels of supplies, like toilet paper, bleach, sanitized wipes, etc. Use your best judgement. Please don’t hoard.

Whew! Okay, thanks for reading that.

Still in? Okay! Let’s get you signed up!

Register to Get a Harvest Helper here.

I Want To Help

Hi there! Thank you so much for volunteering to help your neighbours!

We’ll get you registered in a jiffy.

First, though, you must read the following information. It’s important.

How will this work?
After completing a short confidential form, we will try to match you with a nearby Quarantined Neighbor. We will email both of you and give each of you the other’s contact information. Then, it’s over to you two!

Before we sign you up, it’s important that you know some important things about the Harvest Helpers program:

  1. We do not do background checks. This is a program run by volunteers — regular citizens, like you. Therefore, participants in this program are not screened in any way. We do not do criminal record checks, driving record checks, or anything. If this is a concern to you, do not participate.
  2. Do not pay for groceries/prescriptions — even on loan. In order to protect you, Harvest Helpers are prohibited from using their own money for anything — including temporarily “fronting” the cost of groceries or prescriptions. Please politely refuse any requests for you to pay when you pick up, even if there’s a promise to pay back. If your Quarantined Neighbor requests that you pay for anything, email us and we will assign you a new Quarantined Neighbor.
  3. Do not expect or request a tip. We do this because we want to support our community, not for monetary gain.
  4. Do not ask for reimbursement for taxi fare, transit costs, or gas money. If this would be a hinderance or hardship for you, please do not participate.
  5. We will attempt to match you with someone in your area. If you ever feel uncomfortable or unsafe with your assigned Quarantined Neighbor, please contact us and we will re-assign you immediately.
  6. While Harvest Helpers are free to make any arrangements you like, the intention of this program is to help people with out-of-home tasks. In other words, tasks that they can not do because they’re not permitted outside in groups of others. It is not intended for tasks like pet walking, interior cleaning, etc.
  7. Please politely refuse requests to pick up orders which contain “hoarding” levels of supplies like toilet paper, bleach, sanitized wipes, etc. Use your best judgement. Please don’t hoard.

Whew! Okay, thanks for reading that.

Still in? Okay! Let’s go!

Register to be a Harvest Helper here.

This service is modeled on the Beacon Buddies program set up by the Nanaimo Beacon. Big shout out to them for making their hard work freely available for all to use.

Help spread the word so nobody gets left behind. Sign up to help, then distribute Helper Door Cards to inform your neighbors. Download and print this PDF file or pick up some cards from Harvest Food Bank.