During a time of social distancing, a newly formed buddy system in Oliver is helping keep the community connected.

Harmony Powell, who helps run the Sage Hill Law office, knew she had to create a system that would help connect seniors in her community with other locals who could help keep an eye on them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There’s an elderly population, and my original concern was that most people have family in town, or a neighbour who would keep an eye on them and make sure things are OK . . . they’re covered. But there’s a population doesn’t always have that person,” said Powell.

She launched the Oliver and Area Buddy System last week. It services Okanagan Falls, Oliver and Osoyoos, and has already connected six couples, with plenty more emails from people who would like to sign up.

“I have about — as of last night — about 40 responses,” Powell said Tuesday, adding she has more emails from people who would like to help than those who are needing help.

Individuals who sign up undergo a quick interview and then are matched with someone in their area.

Powell said she hopes someone will jump on board and launch the buddy system in Penticton, and she’s willing to help that person get started, especially now that the demand is increasing.

“A lot of people are in isolation, or just getting increasingly scared, especially if they’re elderly,” Powell said. “The grocery stores in Oliver and Osoyoos have been doing grocery delivery. They’re getting really overwhelmed now.”

Oliver resident Laura Potten quickly jumped on board with the Oliver and Area Buddy System, saying she and her family wanted to help do their part in their community.