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January 20, 2021

Volunteers Needed for “Senior Express” Home Food Delivery Program

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on across Pennsylvania and the nation, an increasing number of senior citizens in the commonwealth are struggling to secure the food they need. Sheila Christopher, of Hunger-Free Pennsylvaniais working to ensure that all seniors have access to food programs so that their needs are met. The organization is looking to expand its new “Senior Express” program, a contactless home food delivery service, across the state, and needs new volunteers from Evangelical Lutheran Church in America congregations and parishioners. 

Hunger-Free Pennsylvania is the “largest provider of meals” to Pennsylvania seniors through the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP). The CSFP is federally funded and has been in operation in Pennsylvania for twenty of its fifty years of existence. It works through 1,200 agencies, senior centers, and housing facilities to deliver over 36,000 food boxes a month to those in need. Despite this significant distribution, there are still approximately 370,000 qualifying seniors who qualify, but currently do not receive food. Requirements imposed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) necessitate the expansion of the program to account for those seniors who are unable to retrieve their food boxes in-person. “Senior Express” is Hunger-Free Pennsylvania’s solution. 

The new program began Spring 2020 when the Washington County food bank provided the names of seniors unable to retrieve their boxes given the concern surrounding COVID-19. Sheila and her friend Jeff, a deacon, over time recruited a handful of volunteers to work four routes in the southwest. Each of these routes delivers twenty to thirty boxes of food. With “Senior Express” now a mainstay, committed volunteers are needed, four for each route across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. “We were looking for a ministry that would fit into our schedule. We can do this when it works for us. This is extremely rewarding, helping people with their most basic need. It is an opportunity to meet and serve some really wonderful people.” said Doug and Maryann Stockdale, two volunteers already participating in the program. 

If parishioners are interested in volunteering for the program, they should contact Sheila Christopher via email at sachristopher@pafoodbanks.orgTo see how such routes may operate, examples are provided from the director below. 

OPTION 1: A church or social organization can support a senior express with several delivery routes, with this option these are the recommended set-up: 

  1. A coordinator will identity a location for the monthly delivery of food boxes from the food bank. 
  2. Depending on the number of routes identified by the food bank will determine the number of volunteers needed. [See Figure 1 for a Sample Route] 
  3. Each route should have at least 4-volunteers. All deliveries should be made with at least 2- volunteers. 
  4. The paperwork is minimal for the project. 
  5. A route call list will be provided [calls to the seniors should be made the week prior to the planned delivery provided the senior with the date & time frame they should expect the delivery of the food package. [See Figure 2 for a Sample Call List] 
  6. In addition to the call list a delivery signoff form will be provided. [See Figure 3 for Sample Delivery From]
  7. Completed paperwork should be submitted to the coordinator directly after the last delivery. 
  8. The volunteers will determine time of the month they will deliver, as well as the time frame. We recommended remaining consistent for each month. For example:  Deliver the third week of every month. The day of the week can vary, as well as the time, however the week should be the same, providing the senior with a food box roughly every 30-days. 

OPTION 2:  A group [minimum of 4] can support a single-route senior express, set-up: 

  1. The volunteers will pick-up the product at the food bank. 
  2. A route call list will be provided [calls to the seniors should be made the week prior to the planned delivery provided the senior with the date & time frame they should expect the delivery of the food package. [See Table 2 for a Sample Call List] 
  3. In addition to the call list a delivery signs off form will be provided. [See Tables 3 for Sample Delivery Form] 
  4. Completed paperwork should be submitted to the coordinator directly after the last delivery. 
  5. The volunteers will determine time of the month they will deliver, as well as the time frame. We recommended remaining consistent for each month. For example:  Deliver the third week of every month. The day of the week can vary, as well as the time, however the week should be the same, providing the senior with a food box ruffly every 30-days. 

The food bank responsible for service area in which the volunteer deliver will provide ample training, clear responsibilities, and ongoing support. The volunteer will make at least a 12-month commitment to the project. 

Figure 1 – Sample Delivery Route 

Figure 2 – Sample Monthly Call Form 

Figure 3 – Sample Monthly Delivery Sign-Off Form 

Recent Comments

  • 02.9.21

    By: Rev. Ela Robertson

    Will our volunteers service our own community?

    Belleville, PA 17004?

  • 02.9.21

    By: lampa

    Yes! Thank you for asking.

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