Volunteers to deliver groceries to seniors in need amid coronavirus

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Some senior citizens said they are not only concerned with battling coronavirus but also navigating the crowds at stores right now. That is why they are grateful for people in their community who are stepping up to help.

Some senior citizens said times are tense in the wake of coronavirus. “It is frightening,” said one senior citizen.

People like Matt Melo want to help. “My parents are both older,” Melo said. “It got me thinking while my parents have a support system, there are elderly people with underlying medical conditions that do not have the same support system.”

The Kirtland Air Force Base firefighter is offering to pick up and deliver groceries to the elderly in his neighborhood. “I have received a couple of messages to this point already asking what my schedule was,” Melo said.

He isn’t the only one. Several others in the heights posted online saying they would be happy to help. More than a dozen neighbors in the Nob Hill area are reportedly volunteering their time too.

“A lot of people are excited and motivated to help,” Melo said.

The New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department said there is high demand as more than 300 seniors have called in for help, especially since some who rely on deliveries from stores are not getting them. An email obtained by KRQE News 13 shows that Walmart deliveries are being delayed or canceled as a result of Coronavirus.

“In these times of crisis, we have stores that are just trying to stock shelves and maintain, and they are struggling as well so not everyone is able to do the types of deliveries they would normally do,” said Cabinet Secretary Katrina Hotrum-Lopez.

The department said it is fine to accept deliveries from trusted neighbors and stressed the importance of social distancing while doing so. Melo said he plans to sanitize all items delivered and drop them off on peoples’ porches to minimize interaction.

“Maybe this is something that can spider web out and help as many people as we can in this community,” Melo said. The department said it is organizing its own team of volunteers to deliver to seniors.

According to the department, more than 55 people called in just on Monday to volunteer. To get involved, email altsd-volunteers@state.nm.us with the subject line: “Ready to help.”

In Albuquerque, the Department of Senior Affairs is also helping out seniors. The department is transitioning its senior centers into food distribution sites where there will be a pickup and go option.

They also have a home delivery program. Home-bound seniors who are interested should call 505-764-6400.

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