Sometimes in our rush to protect and provide for ourselves, we forget that there are those who are at a natural disadvantage to do so.
In trying times like these, in the midst of the Covid-19 outbreak, it becomes especially apparent that the old and sick are often left behind.
In Hong Kong, the elderly have resorted to reusing masks, as they do not have the energy to queue for long hours at pharmacies and stores.
While governments might be able to ensure a stable food supply and replenish stocks at supermarkets and stores, some might not even have the wherewithal to access these food items in stores in the first place.
Elderly man looking for bread
This was the case one Helena Ellis observed at a store.
Ellis, who happens to be a DJ based in Sydney, Australia, came across an elderly man in his 80s while grocery shopping.
She said that the man was lugging an empty trolley, and staring at empty shelves of bread.
A picture she posted to Facebook showed the man standing in front of barren racks, save for a few measly packs of items.
"My heart broke," she said.
Ellis' post has been shared over 56,000 times in a day.
Ellis added that she had taken the last two packs of hotdog buns, and proceeded to give him one of the packs from her own trolley.
"I said "At least it’s still bread" and he laughed and thanked me (I felt that was the least I could have done for him)."
This incident likely followed rounds of panic buying at Australia's supermarkets, which saw shelves cleared and brawls for popular commodities like toilet paper surfacing.
Help the elderly whenever possible
In her post, Ellis urged everyone to help the elderly whenever they can.
"If you see an old person, please stop and ask if they need anything. Stop and give them something from your trolley that is no longer on the shelves that you could easily come back and get tomorrow. Who knows where they came from or how long it took them to get to the shops, only to get there and find empty shelves."
She also wrote that in this "time of utter madness and chaos", people should remain united and look out for one another and those who are most vulnerable.
Ellis added that one could do so by checking up on their elderly neighbours and strangers on the street.
You can read her full post here.
Measures to help elderly and disabled in Australia
To give the vulnerable and disadvantaged a chance at purchasing their own necessities, Australian supermarkets Coles and Woolworths announced on Mar. 16 that stores would dedicate an hour for these groups of people to do their shopping.
Between 7am and 8am, shoppers who display the relevant government-issued seniors, pensioner or disability cards will be allowed in to do their shopping, before the mad rush begins, reported ABC News.
We’re launching a dedicated shopping hour in our stores to help support the needs of the elderly & people with disability in the community. From tomorrow until at least friday, we’ll be opening exclusively for them to shop from 7-8am, where permitted.— Woolworths (@woolworths) March 15, 2020
Top photo from Helena Ellis / FB