Good Neighbors

Volunteers Deliver Food To Senior Citizens Who Can't Leave Home

They're making sure no one in their community is forgotten, going door to door with pantry items for their elderly and disabled neighbors.

You could argue that all of us are "shut in" during this time of stay-at-home orders to prevent the spread of coronavirus. But what about people who truly are shut ins: senior citizens and people living with disabilities who either can't or shouldn't leave their homes.

Those folks are on the minds of the volunteers at Roots of Faith in Sharpsburg, PA, just outside of Pittsburgh. The non-profit, a ministry of nearby Faith United Methodist Church, recently started distributing food from their storefront location. Some is purchased with donations, some came from the local food pantry that had to close because of coronavirus concerns, leaving 110 families without help.

Organizers realized hundreds of seniors in local high rises or living alone in their homes wouldn't be able to come to their storefront location.Roots of Faith/Facebook

When organizers realized seniors in nearby high rises and others who can't leave their homes wouldn't be able to come in person to pick up food, they launched a delivery service. "We had an 88-year old man who called and just really makes your heart hurt," said Kathleen Stanley of Roots of Faith. "He has no way to get out and he had no food so we dropped off a couple of bags for him so he doesn't have to worry for a couple of weeks."

Volunteers pack bags of food for delivery to seniors and disabled neighbors.Bonnie DeMott

That drop off was one of more than 400 bags of food delivered this week to people in Sharpsburg and nearby Etna. Each bag contained basics meant to last a week: soup, rice, pasta and sauce, peanut butter and flat breads. This week everyone also got a box of Girl Scout cookies donated by a local troop, and someone donated potatoes, so each person got 2 or 3 potatoes.

Staples like peanut butter and pasta help make ends meet.Roots of Faith/Facebook

"We met many of the residents of the Tower in Sharpsburg who haven't left their apartments since the shut down," reported Bonnie DeMotte, the executive director of Second Harvest which is helping with the distribution. "The were all so incredibly appreciative of the groceries. One gentleman even insisted on contributing to the cost and handed me $20."

Volunteers age 59 and under are needed to shop, pack, and make deliveries.Roots of Faith/Facebook

Stanley says the group is adding a "to-go" element to their on-site and delivery distribution. They're raising money to purchase take out meals, supporting local restaurants while making sure neighbors are fed. She's been impressed to see how the whole community is coming together to help at a time when need is growing exponentially.

"This morning we probably added an additional 15 people. As people are finding out about us they'll call us and say 'I'm older, I can't get out of my house' and we'll add them to the weekly delivery route."

DeMotte says she's grateful to be able to take action at a time when it's easy to feel helpless to make a difference. "All of the volunteers remarked how great if felt to just be doing something good and making a contribution. I felt grateful for the chance to serve a vulnerable population and help to keep them safe."

How can you start something good?

You can support Roots of Faith in their effort to keep the seniors and disabled people in the community safe and fed.

To make a donation, send a check to:

Roots of Faith
261 West Chapel Ridge Road
Pittsburgh 15238

To donate food, you can drop it off Wednesdays from 10-11:30am at:

Roots of Faith
800 Main Street
Sharpsburg 15215

If you'd like to volunteer (you must be age 59 or younger) call Kathleen Stanley at 412-977-9136. They need help shopping for food, packing bags, and delivering them.

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