Our new stay-at-home protocols given by the Governor of New York are for the protection of the elderly and those whose health is compromised. It is they who will suffer most if COVID-19 continues to spread, but everyone is involved in slowing the spread.
It is seniors whose lives are, perhaps, most affected by the stay-at-home policy: they should, ideally, not be going out to do their shopping. For some West Village seniors this is not a practical difficulty. Many have non-senior friends or family who do their shopping for them and some have access to the internet and can order groceries and other products online for home delivery.
Seniors (or other vulnerable people) who have neither access to the internet nor anyone to do their shopping, however, are in a very difficult position. They should not be leaving home (except for visits to the doctor) and certainly should not be entering places of public gathering such as grocery stores. That’s where St. John’s in the Village and Invisible Hands Deliver come in.
Invisible Hands (www.invisiblehandsdeliver.com) is a group of volunteers (mostly students) who shop for you and deliver those grocery orders from stores to people’s homes. (If you are a senior who has internet, you might consider using this service yourself.)
St John’s, in partnership with Invisible Hands, has begun a service through which seniors (or other vulnerable people) with no internet can order their groceries and household products simply by telephone. Our St. John’s volunteers take your order over the phone, place and pay for your order at a local store, and an ‘Invisible Hand’ delivers the order to your home. Store employees and Invisible Hands use robust hygiene protocols. You do not need to give any money to anyone. St. John’s is funding this project, through gifts given specifically for this purpose by benefactors from the UK. If, at the end of the stay-at-home period, you would like to pay all or part of what your groceries cost, we would be happy to receive it (to use it to benefit others in similar ways), but if you cannot, that is fine. You should not be going to a bank to take out cash during these times.
The number is 929-292-9235. It is staffed by St. John’s team of volunteers between 3pm and 5pm Monday to Friday. Delivery would usually be the following day. Decide before you call (make a list) what it is you need and make it simple: eg so many pounds (or bunches) of this fruit or that vegetable, this or that cut of meat, chicken breasts or thighs, so many bags of rice/pasta/flour, so many cans of this or that, a cleaning spray for glass or for metal or for general purposes, bleach, toilet paper, dishwasher tablets, detergent, a small or large carton of this % fat milk, etc. Particular brands may not be available. Be flexible. As this is to be carried to your home by one (young) adult, make it light enough for that volunteer to do so in one trip. Most seniors can do their weekly shopping within that weight.
If you know of seniors (or other vulnerable people) with no internet, especially those who find it hard to make ends meet, who might benefit from this service, please telephone and explain it to them, or cut out this article from the newspaper and mail or deliver it to them.