Amy-Leigh Knight called what she's doing "cooling the chaos".
When the 21-year-old cafe manager realised toilet paper was becoming a big commodity, rather than hoard what she had she thought of others first.
"It's so bizarre, it's crazy that this is even happening but I got the idea pretty much when we first started realising the toilet paper thing was a struggle," Ms Knight said.
"I didn't really play on the idea until I went to the shops last week and realised it was not getting any better, it was getting worse."
It was the trigger for her to set up a table at the cafe giving away toilet paper, long life milk, flour and oats.
"Seeing the elderly looking distressed and not understanding what was going on was very upsetting to me. We're in a lucky enough position to order stuff in through our suppliers, so I took advantage of that and we're giving back to the community to help out."
Ms Knight's family owns the Mill Cafe in Queanbeyan, and since October Ms Knight has been managing the business.
Ms Knight is young and healthy, and "not really panicked about the virus itself", she said.
"If I get sick I'm likely to recover from that, but I know there's a lot of people with weakened immune systems who are a lot more vulnerable than I am. I'm just lucky enough that I can be here and I can help people."
In addition to getting the word out on Facebook, the cafe has started donating bags of food and toilet paper to Meals on Wheels to deliver to the elderly and people who can't leave home. They're also making $5 ready-made dinners for people who are struggling to find food, and they will start a home-delivery service in the near future if they hear of people unable to leave home to get food.
Ms Knight said people in the community are now donating money and goods to the cafe so they can help more vulnerable people.
"People are paying it forward with their dinners, so giving us money so we can buy more stuff to giveaway," Ms Knight said.
"We like to give back to the community in any way we can anyway, but this is the chance to really step up and it's giving other people the chance to give too.
"If I didn't have this space I wouldn't feel like I'm making much of an impact. I'm just super grateful we're in the position to be able to do this."
Meanwhile in the south Canberra suburb of Richardson, Jessica Kremp's community pantry is more well-stocked than it has been before.
She started the idea in July last year as something to give back to the community after being in "troubled spots multiple times" herself. She said putting your hand up to ask for food can be daunting, so she set up a literal pantry on the street outside her house for people to take what they need and to give what they can.
"It's nice to have something there so you don't need to tell people why you need the help, or maybe you feel like you don't deserve the help," Ms Kremp said.
"Initially I just stocked it with basic things, well not so basic now, but pasta and cans and spaghetti sauces, toiletries and long life milk," she said.
People have donated similar things, and then also things like juice, tea bags and baby food. More recently there's been hand sanitiser and toilet paper. Every so often a box of chocolates appears in the pantry.
She hasn't had a single problem with possums or rats, but she is looking to upgrade the pantry to a fridge or the like, just to be safe.
"It's been there for quite some time now and I've never come home and it's got nothing in it."
Does she think people might be misusing the pantry?
"I just don't judge. That's the whole point of it, I'm not there to judge."
A similar set-up is now up and running in Mawson after Dan Nahum put the word out to a Mutual Aid Facebook Group on Thursday that he was looking for a cupboard to set up a "donate what you can, take what you need" service.
Within hours he had arranged a trip to Holder to fetch an unused meat safe donated by a supporter of the community pantry idea.
On Saturday, he and his partner Kate Boston will take the recently acquired cupboard to the carpark between the shops on Athllon Drive in Mawson.
He said supplies at the Mawson Woolworths had been depleted this week and they hoped by placing it in view of the supermarket and bus stop nearby, people would see they had an alternative option.
"As people's incomes are impacted and they're having a tough time getting hold of what they need it's something they can look to, if not rely on," he said.
Mr Nahum hopes other people will join them in leaving non perishables and essential items.
"Toilet paper obviously," he said. "Given that seems to be a bit of a crisis."
The Pearce couple will also leave notes with their contact details encouraging people to reach out should they need anything.
They've already done the same in their neighborhood, with several people calling to thank them and let them know they too "have their backs."
He said he believes this crisis will spotlight the lack of security which results from atomisation.
"We have the chance to undo that and built a better society out of this," he said.
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