Food Delivery for the Homebound
By Tim Spitzack, Editor, South St. Paul Voice
Homebound seniors and others can get food delivered directly to their home through a new service offered by Neighbors, Inc., which runs the food shelf for residents in Northern Dakota County. While the program began in response to COVID-19, it has now become a regular program of the nonprofit.
Neighbors began a trial program in March through a partnership with West St. Paul-based DARTS, a nonprofit that provides services for older adults and their families, then began operating the program independently this fall. It has proved to be a safe and effective way to deliver food to those unable to visit the food shelf. According to spokesperson Heidi Satre, about 100 people use the delivery service monthly.
All items available for pick-up at the food shelf are available for delivery, including boxed and canned food, frozen meat, fresh produce, milk and hygiene products. The ordering process is identical. Participants place orders in advance then call 651-455-5000 to schedule a time to pick up their food or have it delivered. Neighbors currently offers only curbside service at the food shelf, 222 Grand Avenue, South St. Paul. All orders are prepackaged.
Deliveries are usually made the day after the order is placed. Food packages are placed curbside, with no interaction with the driver. The program is supported by volunteer drivers who use their own vehicles. Many of these drivers are the same people who have provided rides to medical appointments and other critical meetings through Neighbors’ transportation service, which has been temporarily suspended due to social distancing protocol.
Neighbors was founded in 1972 and today serves more than 600 families a month. It relies on food and financial donations to serve people in South St. Paul, West St. Paul, Inver Grove Heights, Mendota, Mendota Heights, Lilydale and Sunfish Lake. Donations can be dropped off at the food shelf between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. To find out which items are most needed, call 651-455-5000.
Originally printed in the South St. Paul Voice, vol. 18, Number 2, February 2021. Reprinted with permission.