Associate Director, Ageing, Communication, Technologies at Concordia University, Constance Lafontaine, is one of the partners involved.
“The project that we’ve put together aims to help older adults who are right now vulnerable with the current pandemic in terms of getting groceries,” she explained.
Anyone over 70 in the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (NDG) area is eligible.
The joint initiative started more than two weeks ago to serve clients of community organizations in the neighbourhood, like the New Hope Seniors Centre on Sherbrooke Street near Concordia University, that were forced to shut down because of the COVID-19 crisis.
New Hope’s director said most of his volunteers would be considered at high-risk for COVID-19. “Because the majority of my volunteers are over 70,” Gerry Lafferty said.
“We were struggling and worried about how we were going to provide groceries for the seniors.”
According to Lafontaine the group has made about 50 deliveries and now that they are opening up the service to other seniors in the NDG area, they expect to do more.
Lafferty stressed that the need is vital, especially among one particular group — those without any family nearby.
“Within the Anglophone community,” he told Global News, “the seniors are much more isolated because their family members have moved out of province. So they don’t have their children, their grandchildren. They’re very, very isolated.”
Anyone who calls for help is paired with a volunteer who takes the client’s grocery order. That list is then given to the Provigo supermarket on Sherbrooke and Cavendish, where cashier Lorraine Fyfe takes over.
“I read all the groceries they need, I shop around the store, I scan everything at the cash, I bag everything, I send it off for delivery,” she said.
The store delivers the groceries for free, according to Lafontaine, and clients pay when they get their order.
And what if there are mistakes?
“I would fix it,” Fyfe laughed. “And I’d send the delivery guy back out with what needs to be corrected.”