COVID-19 has spared no one in its wake. People all over the world have been affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic — whether they’re adjusting to the new normal of social distancing, having an entire household working from home, or losing income as world economies crash and businesses shutter.
The latter reason is why Heather Harries launched Stop and Help here in Dubai. She says they are “a grassroots community initiative which supports families who are suffering as a result of a short-term crisis.” She saw a need for families with children who were struggling to make ends meet when the pandemic hit Dubai. And it wasn’t just families unable to pay their bills. It was parents unable to feed their children.
Harries says that at its heart, Stop and Help is a “kindness exchange.” Most people do want to be kind and are generous by nature. Stop and Help is a platform which connects those who have a real need to those who want to help. Every family who fills in a request is checked and put in a registry. They only provide food and essentials, so anyone asking for money is politely declined. When you sign up to help, you are connected with a family and given a suggested grocery list of food and essential items like laundry detergent, soap, shampoo, or any specific requests the family might have made. For example, if the family has a baby, it can request a certain size of diapers or formula. For safety reasons, you can only use delivery shops like InstaShop, BulkWhiz, Kibsons, and Carrefour. You order the items online, and have them delivered to the family rather than to you. It’s simple, easy, and effective.
It is also infectious. “Once you do a kind deed, and see the effect on a family, it is really difficult to stop,” says Harries. Delaney Leigh, who has been living in Dubai for almost two years, found out about the initiative through a post on Facebook. She told Savoir Flair that it was an extremely easy process. When she signed up, she received a quick questionnaire asking her if there was a specific area in Dubai she was looking to support and if she wanted to support one time or more. Leigh’s kids were able to get involved as well, helping their mother choose special goodies for the family’s three children. “One of the great things about Dubai is convenience,” says Leigh. “Everything can be delivered at the push of a button on your phone, and that doesn’t stop with donating to those in need. If you have the means to do it, it really is just a few clicks of a button to help lessen someone’s burden.”
As more and more Dubai residents join, sponsors have also stepped up with their own acts of kindness for the Dubai community. PureBorn Middle East, a company that provides organic, chemical-free, and cruelty-free diapers and wipes, has also donated crates of their products to Stop and Help families. “As part of our PureBorn values, we give back,” PureBorn says. “Giving is a huge thing for us. We continue to support you and your community.”
“If ever you wanted to start doing a random act of kindness, now is definitely the time to start,” urges Harries. We applaud Heather Harries and all the Dubai residents who have responded to her call to help those in our own community during these difficult times. And we are proud to live in a city of people who continually awe us with their generosity and kindness regardless of race, religion, or background.
If you feel inspired to partner with Stop and Help, please consider going to their Facebook page and signing up.