IRIS volunteers Joanne Cotter (left), Linda Krantz (middle) and activity co-ordinator Deb Wandler stand before the 80 meals that would usually be served at a monthly seniors’ lunch. Last week, they were picked up or sent out for seniors to eat at home. Photo submitted

Castlegar ‘Grocery Buddies’, Rossland Rotarians helping ensure seniors are stocked up

Volunteers getting groceries to seniors who need them during the COVID-19 outbreak

Community groups in Rossland and Castlegar are stepping up to ensure seniors shut in by COVID-19 have enough food to eat.

The Rossland Rotarians, and Castlegar-based IRIS program (Increasing Recreation Involving Seniors) are both setting up free systems for volunteers to deliver food to seniors.

“I think everyone is thinking it, says IRIS’s co-ordinator, Sandi McCreight. “How are we going to keep our seniors as safe as possible in this time of isolation? Everybody needs groceries.”

Seniors around the world are being told to sequester themselves to limit exposure to the coronavirus. While many stores have added a seniors-only hour of shopping, many still don’t want to have to go out to restock their groceries, medicine or other supplies.

Rotarians in service

In Rossland, the idea came about when local Rotarians saw a need that had to be filled.

“We thought, what do we do about these seniors, who are some of the most vulnerable in this environment?” says Rotarian Mike Ramsey. “We approached Ferraro’s, and they said, yes, we need a volunteer list. And we came up with a list and that’s how it worked.

Rossland seniors in need of a delivery can call Ramsey at 250-362-7787. He, or another volunteer Rotarian will take the list, grab a cardboard box, pick up the groceries and deliver them to the senior.

If the senior doesn’t have an account with Ferraro’s, the volunteer will pay for the groceries in advance and settle with the senior when the food is delivered.

So far a handful of seniors had signed up — when the Rossland News reached Ramsey, he was shopping for a senior. But more are welcome to use the service.

Flyers will be distributed to seniors‘ homes in Rossland to let them know about the service, adds Ramsey.

Castlegar Grocery Buddies

In Castlegar, seniors can call 250-608-0706. Their name will go to a volunteer, or Grocery Buddy, who’ll call the senior, get their list, and pick up and deliver the supplies to the senior’s door.

Seniors don’t have to be infirm or unwell to access the service — it’s for any older person who doesn’t want unnecessary exposure to the virus by being out in public.

SEE: B.C. care homes well equipped to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks: seniors advocate

In both communities, volunteers are taking care to protect themselves and seniors from accidental exposure the the virus.

“I use gloves and a cardboard box when I’m shopping, and I just put the cardboard box down and they can deal with it, so there’s no contact, and social distancing,” says Ramsey.

“The only contact is when the groceries are dropped off,” says McCreight. “The volunteers won’t go into the house. They won’t have any physical contact. It’s just dropping off the groceries.”

IRIS is also re-working its monthly seniors’ lunch. Last week it prepared the food, but instead of getting together for a communal meal, the 80 dishes were picked up or delivered to the seniors’ homes. Where they were delivered to a facility, the meals were dropped off with a single person in the house, who then distributed them to the seniors.

SEE: Connect with your elderly neighbours during COVID-19 crisis

He says it’s an important service for Rossland Rotary to provide.

“Rotary is a service-based organization, and there’s a lot of volunteerism in our community, and it’s a way we can make a contribution for the good of all,” says Ramsey. “We’re available, we have the interest and a network of people, and any way we can make it a better community we will.”

Both organizations’ spokespersons say it’s a service they’ll continue as long as they can.

“These people still have to have food. We’ve got to keep doing this,” says McCreight. “The stricter the rules for the general public, the more at-risk these people will be if we don’t have the supports in place for them.

“We have to stay on this, providing what we can.”



reporter@rosslandnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘I knew what he wanted’: Man recalls black bear chasing him up tree in Slocan Valley

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

No passenger flights at West Kootenay Regional Airport until at least September

This is the third time Air Canada has announced changes to flight operations out of the airport

Powerful thunderstorms called for the West Kootenay this weekend

Environment Canada issued a special weather statement Thursday afternoon.

Morning Start: 180 different bird species exist in Kootenay National Park

Here is your Kootenays’ morning start for Friday, May 29

Nakusp RCMP seize large quantity of drugs during seach warrant on May 27

The warrant was conducted in the 300th block of 8th Avenue NW

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

COVID cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a BC mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

State of Local Emergency declared for Boundary as communities brace for river flooding

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Minneapolis cop who knelt on man’s neck charged with murder

Arrest comes after three days of protests, which escalated in violence as demonstrators torched a police precinct

Most Read