Last month independent lobby group GetUp launched a social-media movement, #IWillEatWithYou, to support Asian eateries reeling from a downturn in trade due to the coronavirus. But now the anxiety has spread from Chinese restaurants to everywhere – workplaces, public spaces and homes – with businesses closing up and many of us on total lockdown.

So the group has launched another initiative called Viral Kindness, this time connecting people to their neighbours and local communities for solidarity, support and assistance through this time of need.

“Amidst the fear and uncertainty, we are inspired by the growing number of local community groups coming together to spread kindness,” GetUp national director Paul Oosting said in a statement.

The website lets you register and search through local community groups, which are hosted on Facebook, Messenger or WhatsApp to make it easier for people to connect. The site also has tips for starting your own group, from choosing a platform and designating roles to organising payment for groceries.

Viral Kindness also has printable “community care postcards” you can distribute to your neighbours if you want to offer assistance, especially if they’re in isolation and can’t leave the house. Write down your name and contact details, specify what services you can help with – picking up groceries, walking a pet and getting medication from the chemist are some of the suggestions – then drop it off in letterboxes around you to let people know you’re willing to lend a hand.

A similar postcard campaign launched in the UK saw a number of local community support groups popping up, and many communities in Australia have followed suit. Oosting thought having them all in one place would make it easier for Aussies to find their closest group.

There are other resources in the online hub too, including important information about Coronavirus, tips for delivering supplies and suggestions for talking to children about what’s going on.

“We don’t know how long this crisis will last, but we do know that people power will have an important part to play, and we are right behind the community,” he said. “We’re safer apart but strong together. We’ll be here as long as we’re needed.”

viralkindness.org.au