Locals Look to Start Grocery Program for the Elderly

Local business owners Maurice Loeb of Sumitra and James Briggs, Founder & Creative Director of Carroway + Rose have been looking to find a sustainable way for Gulfport and South Pasadena elderly to get groceries without putting themselves at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Thanks to recent technology there are quite a few grocery delivery applications available to the public, such as Shipt, Instacart and DoorDash. Unfortunately, not everyone is equipped to use these trusted services, whether due to technology limitations or the ability to understand how these services work. 

“I saw on Facebook, people offering to take grocery orders for those unable to get to get to the grocery stores themselves,” said Loeb. “But, how do we know that these people aren’t scammers? How do we know that the folks who take these people up on their offer are going to get what they asked for and then are going to get the correct amount of change?”

As of press time, Loeb has been in negotiations with Publix of South Pasadena to set up a verified location for seniors to place their grocery orders over the phone with Loeb’s volunteer force. 

Unfortunately, not all has worked out as smoothly as Loeb and Briggs were hoping. 

“With the Senior Center closing their doors to the public soon, we’re rushing to find a solution,” said Loeb, adding that while the Senior Center will be open for meals on wheels, not everyone qualifies for this service.

“We really need to help our seniors and to keep them out of harm’s way,” said Loeb “We’re looking for a grocery store to furnish an office and telephone number that people can call and give orders to.” 

Currently Loeb and Briggs have a volunteer force of 100 people ready to take and fill orders and deliver orders if necessary. The two are looking to make this service free, without processing or gratuity fees, but don’t know how to get from concept to action. 

If anyone has information or suggestions on how to get this program up and running, please contact Maurice Loeb at 813-220-4533.

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