From the grocery store to the senior’s door; Nonprofit provides help for homebound seniors

BY JORDAN LANGER

jordan.langer@ecm-inc.com

It’s a Tuesday morning in late spring at the Cub Foods in Crystal. Carts, filled with food, toiletries and prescriptions, begin to form an organized line near the registers.

Women and men with clipboards in hand begin to double-check that the items in each cart correspond with the 22 separate orders. Janet Lynch of Maple Grove notices that the breadsticks, milk and Kleenex in one cart are a different brand than what is on the order sheet.

Hurriedly, Lynch grabs the items and races through the store to find their replacements. Within minutes, Lynch is back at the registers, helping the others bag groceries.

Lynch, along with the other retirement-aged Cub shoppers in her group, are volunteers with Store-to-Door, a nonprofit organization that grocery shops and delivers food, prescriptions (and anything else Cub Foods sells) every two weeks to homebound seniors in the seven-county metro area.

Everything about Store-to-Door, from the grocery ordering method to the way they are delivered, is aimed at making life easier for seniors.

Unlike many of the for-profit grocery delivery services that require computer and Internet access to place a grocery order, Store-to-Door clients can place their order over the telephone. Like clockwork, volunteer order-takers call the clients every two weeks and assist them with completing their grocery list.

Jane, one of the organizations 15,000 clients who asked her last name not be used, said she was denied one grocery store’s delivery service because she didn’t have Internet. Learning about Store to Door while staying at the Masonic Home Convalescent Care unit, "gave her hope," she said.

"Store to Door is the only service I found that understands not only the needs of seniors, but also the struggles crippled seniors like me have who can’t lift or carry the heavy loads anymore."

After the groceries are purchased – Store to Door pays for them on credit and reimburses Cub Foods’ parent company, Supervalu, after payment is received from the clients – a volunteer delivers the groceries into the senior’s home. In addition to paying for the groceries, (the average order is $75), the clients contribute toward the cost of delivery based on their income.

Bill Jackson of Brooklyn Park is the delivery coordinator and said he enjoys getting to know the people beyond what type of peanut butter they prefer.

Jackson said the clients are happy to see him – and not just because he comes bearing food.

"I get the feeling that I am the only person they talk to in weeks," he said.

The service that Store to Door provides enables seniors to continue to stay in their homes and live independent lives, said Executive Director Mary Jo Schifsky.

"One of the primary reasons why seniors move into nursing homes is because they are no longer able to access food," she said.

Because of Store to Door, Jean, 86, and Paul, 88, of Minneapolis are able to continuing living in their downtown Minneapolis home.

"We don’t want to go to an old folks’ home, you cannot believe how much this service means to us."

Last year, Store to Door made more than 18,000 deliveries, 86 percent of which were delivered to senior women, according to the organization’s website. Of the client base, 54 percent are over the age of 80-years-old.

As a way raise money for Store to Door and ensure that the level of service provided to this growing population continues, a Store to Door volunteer, Linda Roeller and her husband organized a golf fundraiser at Pheasant Acres golf course in Rogers Saturday Aug. 4.

The fundraiser costs participants $75 and includes golf, dinner and prizes. The registration deadline for the second-annual event is July 14. To register, contact Linda Roeller at 612-669-8029 or lindaroeller@gmail.com. A registration form can also be downloaded at storetodoor.org.

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