TORONTO -- A group of volunteers from Toronto’s Chinese-Canadian community are banding together to help support travellers who have recently visited China and are now in self-quarantine due to the new coronavirus.

Toronto resident Darwin Qiu said he is a member of the Anhui Community Association of Canada, an organization whose members come from the Anhui province of China.

He said the group and a coalition of other volunteer groups across Canada have been looking after the needs of those in quarantine, and groceries, especially fresh produce, have been the main request.


On Monday, Qiu picked up food items at a nearby Chinesemarket and placed them on the porch of a home for a young couple.

The couple returned from China on Feb. 8 and are observing a two-week quarantine period to ensure they don’t have the coronavirus, which has now claimed almost a thousand lives in China.

Once Qiu left the porch, he called the couple to tell them to bring the groceries inside. The clients pay for the groceries through e-transfer so there’s no face-to-face contact at all.

In an email to CTV News Toronto, the couple writes that the most difficult part of their situation is “how to kill the time at home.”

“My boss agreed on the two-week break so I can go back to work afterwards. We appreciate the volunteers very much. Their help with the groceries are important for our two-week quarantine at home,” the couple, who have asked not to be identified, added.

In addition to the grocery deliveries, volunteers are also helping those returning from China with transport from the airport. The volunteers make arrangements with the travellers’ families to retrieve their car keys and deliver their vehicles to the airport. This way returning travellers can just drive themselves home.

Qiu said he volunteers his time for free, but says what he gets in return makes the effort worth it.

“The thing I get out of my time, my effort, is the happiness of my contribution to the society, to the country or to the world. It really is a pleasure to do something to help other people”.

Qiu told CTV News Toronto that the Anhui Community Association is also collecting donations to buy masks and protective gear for workers in mainland China. He says that those workers have been facing shortages and Canadians can do much to help them.