PATERSON, NJ – The City of Paterson is expanding its volunteer-run grocery delivery service for senior citizens to include single mothers with infants, officials announced Thursday.
Launched in April as a pilot program, Neighbor Express links seniors with volunteers who can shop at local supermarkets such as ShopRite, Golden Mango and PriceRite, and deliver groceries to them during the outbreak.
Early on during the pandemic, Mayor Andre Sayegh said the city identified its “most vulnerable population – senior citizens” and sought to find ways to help them through the crisis. According to Sayegh, the program has been successful so far and “seniors are benefiting.”
COVID-19 has put additional burdens on populations that were struggling with food insecurity prior to the outbreak, such as seniors, single parent homes and low-income households. Since March, non-profit organizations and food pantries have seen a surge in demand for groceries and prepared foods.
“There’s certainly a need in our society,” said Sayegh, adding that the city wants to do what it can to accommodate single mothers. The mayor also said he’ll be looking into whether the program can be expanded to include single fathers with young babies.
Another new aspect of the program includes wellness checks on senior citizens, thanks to a collaboration with the Health Coalition of Passaic County, according to Sayegh.
As part of the partnership, high school students from Paterson schools will call senior citizens to check in on needs for supporting services, have a conversation about their lives in the city and document their stories.
“It’s not just about perishables, but also about mental health,” Sayegh said. “We will overcome this ordeal, but in the meantime we can make some lives easier."
To request a delivery or learn more about volunteering with Neighbor Express click here.
Know a story we should share with readers? Email editor Steve Lenox and tell him about it.