“Especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words — ‘Look for the helpers’ — and I am always comforted that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.” —Fred Rogers

Beacon Buddies is a mid-Island volunteer-run community service that matches people currently in voluntary self-isolation/quarantine with a neighbour who can help out with occasional basic out-of-home errands.

It is not affiliated with Beacon Community Services in Victoria.

Beacon Buddies 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.

I Want to Help

Hi there! Thank you so much for raising your hand and agreeing 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 Buddy. We will email both of you and give each of you the other’s contact information. Then, it’s over to you two!

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

  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.
    “Speed trumps perfection.” — Canada’s chief doctor, March 17 2020
  2. Do not pay for groceries/prescriptions — even on loan
    In order to protect you, Helper Buddies 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 Buddy requests that you pay for anything, email us and we will assign you a new Buddy.
  3. Do not expect or request a tip.
    We do this because we’re Islanders, 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 make every best attempt to match you with someone in your area and of the same gender. If you ever feel uncomfortable or unsafe with your assigned Buddy, please contact us and we will re-assign you immediately.
  6. While Buddies 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 Beacon Buddy here.

I'm a Community Support Worker

If you have a client you’re supporting, and you would like to register them here for assistance, please read the following information.

Not following the instructions fully may result in your client being removed from the program. Please read the following carefully.

It is critically important that participants in the program (i.e., your client) fully understand how the program works and what its limitations are. 

If you are filling this form out for a client, to protect your own organization from liability you should ensure that you read every single word of the Guidelines to your client, and that they understand it fully. This includes every word on the form. 

At the end of the form, they will be required to confirm that they have read and understand the program’s scope and its limitations.

Unfortunately, some people have taken advantage of the generosity of our volunteer Buddies and we have had to remove them from the program. Because we’re unable to tell whether rule infractions were inadvertant or deliberate, we have chosen to air on the side of protecting the volunteer Buddies.

Once again, if you are registering a client (over the phone or in person) and you are completing the form for them, please ensure you read every word under the “I Need Help” section and of the form as you complete it.

Thank you.

Now, please proceed to the “I Need Help” tab, and begin walking your client through it. Once it’s been read through, you will be able to register via the form.

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 Helper Buddy. We will email both of you and give each of you the other’s contact information. Then, it’s over to you two!

Community Support Workers: Begin reading from herein to your client.

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 situation (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 Beacon Buddies:

  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 Helper Buddy, 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 have nearly 1,000 volunteers, so we’ll 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 your Helper Buddy only picks up things that you have already 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’re Islanders, not for monetary gain.
  6. Your Helper Buddy is prohibited from asking for reimbursement for taxi fare, transit costs, or gas money.
    If you are in quarantine and you are asked to provide money for any reason, please contact us immediately at NanaimoBuddies@gmail.com — we will replace them with a new buddy and remove them from our registry.
  7. Helper Buddies 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 make every best attempt to match you with someone in your area and of the same gender. If you ever feel uncomfortable or unsafe with your assigned Buddy, please contact us at NanaimoBuddies@gmail.com and we will re-assign you immediately.
  9. 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. Your Helper Buddy will 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 Get a Beacon Buddy here.

Are you in my community?
We have hundreds of volunteers standing by ready to help in: Bowser, Campbell River, Cedar/Extension, Chemainus, Cobble Hill, Comox, Courtenay, Cumberland, Duncan, Gabriola Island, Gold River, Lake Cowichan, Ladysmith, Lasqueti Island, Mill Bay, Nanaimo, Nanoose Bay, North Cowichan, Parksville, Port Alberni, Quadra Island, Qualicum Bay, Qualicum Beach, Shawnigan Lake, Thetis Island, Tofino, and Ucluelet.

➡ I’m on the north Island 
The Harvest Helpers program can help you!

➡ I’m in the Comox Valley
We can help you here, and/or check out Comox Valley Helps.

➡ I’m in Victoria or elsewhere
We wish we could support more communities like Victoria, but we are just three people trying to run this volunteer program off a kitchen table, and we don’t have the resources for any more geography. Check the Victorians Helping Facebook page.

I’m a senior and need help.
Besides registering for help here, the BC Ministry of Health has a phone number for those wishing to help seniors. Dial 211 from your phone.

I want to set this up for our community.
Great! We can help! See our Beacon Buddies Community Implementation Kit.

I have more questions or media inquiries.
Email NanaimoBeacon@gmail.com or send us a private message through our Facebook Page.

Tell your neighbours you’re available to help. Print out these Buddy Door Cards: PDF format or Word format

  • Wondering if you need to be tested? Take the Assessment.
  • If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or other health issues, call 811.
  • If you have non-medical questions about COVID-19 (i.e., travel restrictions, supports and resources), call 1-888-COVID19.