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by Chris Tobin

Timaru’s lifeguards have been taking on different duties since the Covid-19 crisis hit but their new job is still keeping people alive and healthy.

They have been out supermarket shopping each day for people who cannot get out of their homes.

Up to 15 staff from the CBay Aquatics Centre and other Timaru District Council staff have been part of the team doing the work.

“People have really appreciated it and we check on people while we’re at their homes,” Timaru District Council aquatics team leader Leah Stringer said.

In an emergency such as Covid-19 she and the staff take on civil defence duties under which her position is duty welfare manager.

People needing shopping can contact them on an 0800 number with a shopping list of what they required. Some people did the shopping online and it was then a matter of picking up the groceries.

They were shopping also for Idea Services, part of IHC, for people who lived in their 10 homes.

“We do five one day and five the next.

There are 58 people in those homes.

“We shop once a week for them and then there are some elderly and vulnerable people who are unable to go to the supermarket and who have no family or friends to do it for them.”

Two vehicles were used with four shoppers at a time going around the supermarket before delivering the groceries.

The service had been running seven days a week from 7am to 7pm. As from Saturday, they have been operating each day from 9am to 5pm.