CHEER bulking up for essential shopping program for seniors

GEORGETOWN — CHEER Inc. is beefing up its stock to keep homebound seniors in their homes and their cupboards stocked with food and essential supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CHEER is converting the banquet hall at the Warren and Charles Allen Community Center in Georgetown into a temporary mini-warehouse, stocked with canned goods and other nonperishable food items so it can launch its Essential Grocery Shopping Program this week.

“We are doing everything we can to try and get supplies in bulk, because in these times, the availability of basic supplies is very uncertain right now, depending on when you hit the grocery store, versus when the supply trucks come in,” said Ken Bock, CHEER’s CEO.

Two grocery stores in Sussex County are working with CHEER for large volume purchases of certain shelf-stable items. The list includes canned fruits and vegetables, canned soups, pasta, spaghetti sauce and other staples.

Plans are to include paper supplies, laundry detergent, toothpaste, mouthwash, soap and other basic hygiene and household items.

CHEER also has worked out agreements with its dairy supplier for the regular homebound program to get additional milk deliveries to support the essential shopping program, Mr. Bock said, adding that eggs and bread could be available, too.

CHEER’s clientele will receive a complete grocery list with items available in the warehouse inventory. Seniors served by CHEER and persons with disabilities who receive its nutritional services can call to place a shopping order. CHEER staff and volunteers will deliver the orders.

The price of food is CHEER’s cost through store purchases. Items may not be name brand.

Maximum order is $50 and there is a $5 fee for delivery.

“We will fill it the best we can,” said Mr. Bock.

Already, with limited promotion, the grocery shopping program has had a huge interest.

“There have been a lot of call-ins,” said Mr. Bock. “We’re well on our way to having that mini warehouse stocked and delivering food the first of (this) week.”

With uncertainty of in-store availability during the pandemic, Mr. Bock said it made sense to go the bulk route.

“Those inventories are hit and miss right now depending on delivery cycles. In order to have better assurance, if we could get things in quantity, we would actually establish our own warehouse,” said Mr. Bock.

Orders must be placed at least two business days and not more than five business days before the scheduled delivery day; and customers must be at their residence to receive delivery on the scheduled day and make payment.

CHEER customers can sign up for the service and obtain a copy of the program guidelines/shopping list by calling Nancy Elliott at 302-515-3040 or emailing nelliottgrocery@cheerde.com.

“The issue is we have seniors that either can’t get out because they don’t have access to a car, or they are concerned about exposing themselves, because of course, seniors are in the high-risk group,” said Ms. Bock.

“If we can keep them home and make sure they have what they need in their home, that they have nourishment, that they have basic hygiene supplies and household cleaning supplies, then that is what we are planning to do.”


Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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