Kilmallock Covid Response founder Jack Clifford pictured above. Picture: Brian Arthur
Kilmallock Covid Response Offers Assistance to Elderly and Vulnerable
By I Love Limerick Correspondent Tara Byrne
Kilmallock Covid Response is a voluntary group set up by kind hearted 19 year old Jack Clifford in Kilmallock, Co. Limerick. It has been operating since March and has over a dozen volunteers that assist the elderly and the vulnerable during the pandemic. It is free of charge and offers services such as going to the shops, collecting medication, and doing any jobs around the house that someone might need help with.
Jack also calls to the elderly’s doors to have a chat with them and has grown a great bond with those in his community he has been visiting saying, “I call most of them daily, and even if they don’t need anything, I’ll still call to their door for a chat. These people have become an important part of my life, just as I have become one in theirs. One lady, who I have been helping since last March, is the first person I ever called to, and she has a special place in my heart. I have great respect for her. I call to her every single day”.
Staying in compliance with Covid-19 guidelines, the team of volunteers wear face masks, gloves, and make sure to stay two metres apart at all times. Jack says “I have been extremely careful since the arrival of Covid-19, in terms of hand hygiene and mask-wearing. It’s as much for me as for those around me, and I think that that’s the only way to look at this”.
Jack has the ambition to join An Garda Síochána and his goal in life is to make a difference in his community. “I hope to be a detective. I want to work helping to prevent domestic violence and helping victims of it. I feel extremely strongly about protecting people who are in these situations”. Jack’s mother and father brought their children up with a focus on the importance of community and helping others. Jack describes Kilmallock as having a strong sense of community and a great atmosphere.
Jack didn’t want to be sitting around doing nothing while the pandemic was deeply impacting the lives of those around him. He quickly set up the Kilmallock Covid Response group on Facebook. Immediately he got positive responses, encouraging the group and highlighting that something like this was needed in the community. He says, “When I first announced my idea to the public, I had a load of positive feedback and I was so grateful. I also had so many phone calls, emails, and text messages offering help so I was overwhelmed by how good people were”.
Even the local Gardaí got involved, offering to deliver shopping and provisions to members of the community who may live out of town.
Jack wants to emphasise, “I know that lots of us are feeling the same way. I say to anyone who is feeling the effects of isolation, keep going. We are all in this together. Reach out to your community, because there is help out there and there are plenty of groups like ours all over the country, run by people who want to make sure that the members of their community are feeling looked after during this time It’s important to hold onto the things that make you feel good and as ‘normal’ as possible, I think. I have always loved to exercise and keeping fit is a huge focus of mine. Since March, cycling has been a huge help in minding my own mental health. I take to the roads and spend hours cycling. I feel peaceful when I’m out on the bike. It’s my time to myself, and I cherish it.”.
If anyone in the Kilmallock area is in need of the services offered by the Kilmallock Covid Response team they can email [email protected], ring the number 0830195422, or send the Kilmallock Covid Response Facebook page a message.
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