Quality Foods Comox and a group of concerned seniors are teaming up to ensure people get their groceries.
The Q-SHOP program (Seniors Helping Other People) offers grocery shopping for those who can not get out to do it themselves, and it’s been wildly successful.
“We are now into our third year – we are at roughly 130-140 customers,” said Christine Jackson, one of the volunteers with Q-SHOP. “Most of the customers are in their own independent situations, but sometimes they have family or caregivers looking after them. So we will talk to the caregiver, or family member and determine the grocery list.”
The program is successful partly because the bureaucracy is minimal. Anyone in need of the service simply calls the store to set up an account.
“We just need your name, your address and your method of payment,” said Jackson. “Sometimes it’s cash, but normally it would be debit or credit card. We don’t need the number over the phone. We just want to be able to tell our delivery person what to expect.”
Jackson said that while the service is geared towards seniors, it is also available for those who are temporarily unable to do their own shopping, due to injury or illness.
“Most of our clients are seniors – we even have one who is over 100 years old – but we wouldn’t question anyone who is in need of the service,” said Jackson.
The program also has a fundraising angle to it. The only extra charge for the service is a flat $5 delivery charge. That money is split between Quality Foods and Q-SHOP. The Q-SHOP portion goes to a predetermined charity. Glacier View Lodge was the recipient of the first year’s proceeds – approximately $2,100. This year, the Comox Valley Hospice Society was the benefactor of a $2267.50 cheque.
“All the volunteers – there are 28 of us at the moment – get together and vote on which charity gets the funds,” said Jackson. “We make a donation once a year. So Hospice was our second (benefactor). We are now into the third cycle and early next year we will determine who gets the funds from the 2015 cycle.”
Comox Quality Foods general manager Mike MacMicking was eager to get involved with the project, when approached by the SHOP group.
“When they came to us to ask if we wanted to get involved, well, being the community sponsors that we re, we thought it was a great idea,” MacMicking said. “So the ladies come in every Wednesday and Friday. They take the orders over the phone – we have a dedicated line set up for them. They shop the order, then the $5 fee is collected with the bill.”
Jackson said her commitment to Q-SHOP is easy to explain.
“I do it because I think it’s a service that truly is essential. And I do it because it’s fun. I get to be with other volunteers. I love hearing their stories, and I love getting to know our clients as well. It’s a very social activity for me.
“I really don’t like shopping for myself, but I really like doing it for other people.”