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Volunteers Offer Free Grocery Delivery For People Staying Home

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – In the age of “stay safe, stay home,” a group of college students has launched an effort to help the most vulnerable population stay healthy by offering a service to get them what they need most: groceries.

“People who are healthy and are taking precautions to not transfer disease of any kind are willing to help out,” said John Lindsay, a student at Brigham Young University who was looking for a way to stay involved in his community after his school went to online classes and the governor directed everyone to stay home.

“It’s been awesome,” Lindsay said of the community response to the group he started, the Utah Valley COVID-19 Response Team.

It’s a grocery delivery service for those who are staying home for health reasons during the global pandemic. It started a couple of weeks ago with three people in Utah County and has since grown into more than 80 volunteers across two counties.

“I’ve gotten texts and calls from people all over who just say, ‘I saw your group I want to help out,’” he said. Summer Schmoekel was one of those people who reached out.

“A good way to spend some of my extra time that I have right now,” said Schmoekel, who found she had more time after school ended and her internship was postponed.

She signed up to be a volunteer on Thursday and then found herself heading to the store for an elderly couple she didn’t know by Friday.

“She’s really worried about him going to the grocery store,” Schmoekel said.

Schmoekel got the message Thursday night about the couple who needed some help getting their groceries. She received the list by phone and then threw on her mask and grabbed a grocery cart to start shopping.

“I had to sign a bunch of waivers to make sure I was following the CDC guidelines and that kind of thing,” she said. After buying the groceries, she delivered them to the front porch of a nearby home and then proceeded to remove all of the groceries, wipe down each of the bags with Clorox wipes, then did the same thing to each of the grocery items before putting them back in the bags.

Lindsay said most people reimburse the volunteers for the groceries through Venmo or ApplePay. In this case, the couple didn’t use either so they wrote out a check, set it on the ground and Schmoekel retrieved it and wiped it down before taking off in her car.

“People who are on the fence of, ‘hey maybe I should go maybe I shouldn’t go to the grocery store, just know that there are people who are out there that will say, ‘hey we’ll do that for you,’” Lindsay said.

He said they’ve managed to raise some money for the cause and are collecting donations that are used to print flyers to hang up in neighborhoods for those who may not see the service available through a smartphone. They also use any money received to buy essential goods like Clorox wipes and sanitizer, if available.

Lindsay said they’ll offer the service as long as the pandemic lasts and there is a need.

“Hopefully not a long time,” he said. “But if it is we have people who want to help out.”

To request their service, find out more information or to volunteer, you can contact them on Instagram or call or text 801-598-3993.


Coronavirus Resources

How Do I Prevent It?

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

How To Get Help

If you’re worried you may have COVID-19, you can contact the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 to speak to trained healthcare professionals. You can also use telehealth services through your healthcare providers.

Additional Resources

If you see evidence of PRICE GOUGING, the Utah Attorney General’s Office wants you to report it. Common items in question include toilet paper, water, hand sanitizer, certain household cleaners, and even cold medicine and baby formula. Authorities are asking anyone who sees price gouging to report it to the Utah Division of Consumer Protection at 801-530-6601 or 800-721-7233. The division can also be reached by email at consumerprotection@utah.gov.

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