Grocery delivery service for seniors is coming soon

Seniors in Isanti County will soon be able to have their groceries delivered straight from the store to their front door.

The organization Store to Door is expanding its services to the county, according to Executive Director Mary Jo Schifsky, who presented information to the Isanti County Board during its regular meeting Oct. 3.

Store to Door is a nonprofit organization that shops for and delivers groceries to over 1,400 homebound seniors each year. With the addition of Isanti County, the organization will provide services to eight counties in Minnesota.

The county’s former grocery delivery service Cart to Cupboard ended last year, and since then staff have been searching for a new program for seniors, Commissioner Susan Morris said.

“Store to Door is a program that’s been running in the Twin Cities for 28 years now, so they have this down to a fine science,” Morris said.

Schifsky said Store to Door will receive the funding and carry the financial load for offering their services in Isanti County.

“The opportunity to come to Isanti County is important for us,” Schifsky said. “I wanted to give you kudos for your farsightedness to consider providing a way for your homebound elderly to remain in their homes with groceries.”

Every other week, a volunteer calls clients to take their order, Schifsky explained. Store to Door buys only from Cub Foods, delivering groceries and Cub Pharmacy prescriptions directly into the kitchen. Clients pay for their own groceries and a delivery contribution using a personal check, credit/debit card or EBT card at time of delivery.

Store to Door is currently recruiting volunteer order takers and shoppers in Isanti County, Schifsky said.

The organization is also looking for eligible seniors interested in the service. Clients must be age 60 or older and living within the eight-county area to register with Store To Door, and they need to be able to communicate their grocery order over the phone, working with a volunteer order taker.

There are also challenges associated with nonprofit grocery delivery, Schifsky said. The organization trains and insures their drivers because they work with vulnerable adults, there are overhead costs and a cost associated with the online order system.

Store to Door’s budget is $1.1 million, with 15 percent from the state, 29 percent from corporate and foundation grants, 23 percent from individual donors and about 28 percent from earned revenue in 2011.

“We really are just a service. We don’t make any money, and yet grocery shopping and delivery is kind of pricey,” Schifsky said. “But as you know, there are more and more elderly adults, and we are a lifeline for the people that we serve.”

Store to Door customers live in the eight counties served—Hennepin, Ramsey, Carver, Scott, Dakota, Washington, Anoka and Isanti counties—live in their own single-family homes, in apartments and condos and assisted-living facilities. They are usually elderly women living alone who are able to cook for themselves but are unable to shop for and bring home their own groceries.

A typical client, Schifsky said, is an 82-year-old woman living alone who has outlived her social connections and who purchases groceries every two weeks. A typical order is $75 to $80.

Clients in Isanti County will be assigned an order taker who will call them every two weeks to take their order and will have the same delivery person going into their homes.

“We have wonderful, wonderful clients,” Schifsky said. “There’s just not a lot of resources like Store to Door in existence, and I think you’re pretty fortunate to have it coming to this community, and I think we’re pretty fortunate because we get to see what happens when we take it out of the area in which we’ve always operated.”

Store to Door is looking for volunteer order takers and shoppers in Isanti County. The organization is also seeking funding from the community. For more information, visit www.storetodoor.org or call 651-642-1892.

In other action, the board:

• Ratified the appointment of Shila Walek-Hooper as Chief Deputy County Attorney effective Oct. 15. Walek-Hooper has been with the County Attorney’s office since 2006. “I’m excited for the new opportunity and challenge,” she said.

• Approved the request from the Sheriff’s Department to purchase a safety-rescue cab with a heater and defroster for $5,015.

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