A community group in Castlegar is stepping up to ensure seniors shut in by COVID-19 have enough food to eat.
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.
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.
Volunteers are taking care to protect themselves and seniors from accidental exposure the the virus.
“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.
“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.”