Londoner creates online platform that connects volunteers with those needing essential supplies
For many, grocery shopping has become a nerve-wracking, yet necessary activity in a pandemic-ridden environment. While citizens are constantly being told to stay home, many may have difficulties going out in public to buy essential goods and supplies.
London, Ontario-based young entrepreneur Ryan Kelly launched a new program last week called The Atrium Project to connect vulnerable populations to local volunteers who can help deliver supplies and groceries to their doorsteps.
“The Atrium Project is something that a group of us created to make sure that everybody in our community is getting the support they need, especially during COVID-19,” said co-founder of The Atrium Project, Ryan Kelly.
Kelly is the founder of Ascend Applications, a London-based social enterprise that develops technology to help make the web more accessible for those with disabilities.
With his experience as a tech entrepreneur, Kelly wanted to develop an easy and accessible tool to help those who may be adversely impacted by the pandemic.
He first thought of the idea when he saw family members doing their part to stop the spread of the virus.
“I was watching my mom for example...she would go get some groceries and she would call my grandparents and she would call a couple neighbours and ask if there was anything they would need while she was on her grocery run,” explained Kelly.
The Atrium Project is an online platform that allows individuals to choose to “Offer Help” or to “Ask for Help.”
Those who ask for help use a form to list their requirements, and a team of local volunteers can view the request and offer to accept it. The transaction takes place through cellphone and SMS-based communication to help connect volunteers with those who require help and assistance.
The Atrium Project also ensures volunteers and those who make requests follow social-distancing protocols to remain safe and healthy.
“We are very clear on what a safe delivery looks like,” Kelly clarified.
“We make sure we respect social distancing to make sure we don’t spread anything that way. For recipients who are getting their items, we recommend they sanitize items as they unload them from grocery bags.”
Many have turned to grocery and supply delivery services like The Atrium Project to protect themselves and their safety during these trying times. With the high demand for delivery services, one of The Atrium Project’s largest assets is their team of dedicated volunteers who are looking to make a difference in their community.
“Because we have a higher number of volunteers than recipients, whenever a recipient makes a request it is usually fulfilled very quickly,” explained Kelly.
Kelly hopes this initiative will soon take off on a national scale, and he believes delivery services can survive even after the pandemic subsides. The importance of helping those who are most vulnerable in accessing necessary supplies is not unique to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“A lot of technology is very scalable as well, so this is something that we can start deploying in other cities and other provinces very quickly,” said Kelly.
“Regardless of if there’s a pandemic, there’s always going to be people in our community that need support like this.”
To learn more about The Atrium Project and how to get involved, visit atrium.app