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Senior Resource Guide: early stages of COVID-19

Many stores in San Diego County are delivering meals or adjusting their store hours to help seniors during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Credit: KFMB

SAN DIEGO — Editors Note: The list below was posted in April 2020.  Many of the resources are still available, but please check each individual link to confirm the current status of each.

211: Operating 24/7, 211 San Diego is the region’s trusted source for access to community, health, social, and disaster services. 211 provides access to 6,000+ services, including Food Assistance, Health & Wellness, Senior Transportation resources and programs through the online database or phone line.

Serving Seniors: Serving Seniors rapidly transitioned to home-delivered meals for all clients to continue meeting the needs of the thousands of low-income and homeless seniors who rely on meals as a primary source of nutrition to survive during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aging and Independent Services: AIS provides services to older adults, people with disabilities and their family members, to help keep clients safely in their homes, promote healthy and vital living, and publicize positive contributions made by older adults and persons with disabilities. For help, call (800) 339-4661.

San Diego Sustainable Farms: A list of local/regional farms that are open and include delivery options or online purchases. This supports local farmers while many farmer's markets are closed.

San Diego Oasis: As an effort to continue engaging San Diego seniors, San Diego Oasis is halting their in-person programs and taking some of their classes online. Classes will be delivered via Zoom video conferencing and led by their expert instructors. Some of the classes are offered as series and allow students to continue with their studies and participation while not physically being together. 

Helen Woodward Pet Food Assistance “AniMeals” Program: Helen Woodward Animal Center is providing pet food to San Diegans affected by COVID-19, elderly, community members with a disability and laid-off workers. Options include  “drive-through” style pet food distributions (Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday), giving out a two-week supply of dog or cat food per pet/per household (maximum 3  pets). Seniors call:  Helen Woodward AniMeals Program: 858.756-4114 ext 341 or fill out the form online.

Coastal Roots Farm pay-what-you-can farm stand (for all ages):
441 Saxony Rd, Encinitas, CA 92024  (760) 479-6505
Hours of operation: Thursdays, 12-3 p.m. | Sundays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.   

  • Pay-What-You-Can Farm Stand, open twice a week and offering those in need up to $30 of produce at no-cost through our private check out system
  • Free food distributions to Vista Community Clinic and Camp Pendleton
  • Free food donations to St. Andrews Episcopal Church, Mercy Housing, and Community Resource Center
  • Free food deliveries to local Holocaust survivors in need

Elderhelp: For, Housing Services/Escorted Transportation/Care Giver Services, call (619) 284-9281. Elderhelp can lend a hand to those who are isolated or home bound with limited access to food, medical services, and family support.

The Eskaton team is working around the clock to support the well-being of its residents, help families stay informed and share recommendations on ways to assist older adults in our region to help reduce the risk of exposure.

Facilitating Access to Coordinated Transportation - also known as FACT: FACT is offering free rides in San Diego County for seniors, persons with disabilities, students, veterans, and other residents who need assistance to make essential trips for medical needs or grocery needs through April 15.

To arrange for a ride for yourself or someone else, call FACT at 888-924-3228 between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday - Friday. When making a request please have the name(s) of the rider(s) to be transported, the pick-up address and time, and specify if any rider uses a mobility device such as a wheelchair or scooter. Rides are available on a first-come, first-served basis and FACT asks that you call at least one day ahead if possible to arrange for a ride.

Father Joe's Villages shelter/medical careIf you are in need of immediate assistance call 2-1-1 or visit here and click on GET HELP

Feeding San Diego (all ages)
In addition to regular distribution sites throughout the county, Feeding San Diego launched emergency distributions this week to help meet the rapidly increasing demand for food assistance visit feedingsandiego.org/coronavirus
Additional community resources are accessible by calling 2-1-1 or visiting 211sandiego.org.

GoGo Grandparent: 24/7 Meal and grocery delivery, transportation for seniors in South Bay San Diego (not free; ADA Accessible). Call 855-464-6872  or click here.

Jewish Family Service: This includes their Foodmobile. For services, please call (858) 637-3210. 

Meals on Wheels of San Diego County: Available to anyone 60 or older or younger people with health considerations. Call 619.260.6110 or 1-800-5-SENIOR (736467).

Meeting Senior Needs Hotline: Call (866) 960-9261.

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) - San Diego mental health support: You’re not alone, for round the clock support: 24/7 Access & Crisis Line: Call 888-724-7240 or 2-1-1 or click here for assistance

Salvation Army San Diego Senior Programs: Call (619) 231 6000.

Salvation Army senior/community food assistance and spiritual support: Call 619-231-6000 or click here to find a senior delivery based on your zip code as well as virtual Sunday Services, social and spiritual support.

San Diego Food BankThe San Diego and North County Food Banks’ programs continue to operate during the COVID-19 crisis, with 200 distribution sites throughout San Diego County.
If you are in need of food assistance, please call 2-1-1 from your phone, and a 2-1-1 operator will provide you with the location of your nearest food distribution site, OR CLICK HERE:

You can also call the Food Bank’s toll-free number: 1-866-350-FOOD (3663)

The San Diego Food Bank will post all of its weekly, countywide emergency food distribution locations on its website every Friday for the week ahead.
View Listings HERE

Stay Home SD: When a group of millennials saw seniors struggling in the grocery store just to stock up on necessities, they formed "Stay Home SD." The 25-35-year-olds deliver free groceries and supplies to seniors that need it, like eggs. They'll go as far as Temecula or the border to help. You can call 619-800-3252. Here's an interview with the organizers.

Grocery stores

Albertsons: The company, which owns more than 2,200 stores nationwide like Acme, Vons, and Safeway has announced it will reserve time every Tuesday and Thursday from 7 to 9 a.m. for certain customers. Click here for a list of stores

Barons Market9 a.m. – 10 a.m., SENIORS ONLY. Age 65+. The market installed plexiglass barriers at registers. 

RELATED: San Diegans caring for seniors during coronavirus

Big Lots: Stores will be reserving the first hour of each day for senior citizens and those vulnerable victims. CEO Bruce Thorn announced this change "to protect our friends and family."

BI-LO: The southeast grocery store chain will designate 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., weekdays, as the shopping hour dedicated to seniors and high-risk customers.

Costco: Effective March 24, the warehouse store will have senior member hours for those 60 years old and up Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Dollar General: The discount chain announced the first hour of business in its 16,000 stores in 44 states for older and vulnerable shoppers. The company also announced all stores will close one hour earlier to give employees a chance to clean and restock the shelves.

Food 4 Less: 7 a.m. - 7:30 a.m. Daily

Fresh Market: On weekdays the first shopping hour at Fresh Markets from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. will be reserved for seniors and other individuals most at risk (those with chronic health conditions such as heart disease or diabetes).

Gelson's7 a.m. - 8 a.m. for people 65 and older. 

Northgate Gonzalez Market7 a.m. Daily: Seniors 65+, Pregnant Women, Customers with a Disability

RELATED: San Diego Northgate Gonzalez markets will open early for seniors, disabled

Publix: The company announced it's designating Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, 7 to 8 a.m., as senior shopping hours for customers age 65 and over. This change in hours will begin Tuesday, March 24, and continue until further notice. Publix Pharmacy will also open at 7 a.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Ralph's: 6 a.m. daily.  Seniors will be fast tracked. 

Safeway: From 7 to 9 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday, the company is reserving time for vulnerable shoppers.

Target: The major retailer announced all stores will close by 9 p.m. daily, but the first hour of shopping each Wednesday will be reserved for vulnerable guests. The modified closing time will allow for employees to clean and restock the shelves.

Trader Joe's: Seniors only 8 a.m. -9 a.m. daily 

RELATED: Vallarta supermarkets to implement special hours for seniors, disabled

Vallarta Supermarkets7 a.m. Daily: Seniors 65+, Pregnant Women, Customers with a Disability

VONS:  7 a.m. – 9 a.m., M-F Southern California Stores: Honor System for Seniors, Pregnant Mothers, Customers with a Disability or Compromised Immune System

Walgreens: Senior hours is on Tuesdays from 8 a.m. - 9 a.m.

Walmart: Senior hours is on Tuesdays from 6 a.m. - 7 a.m. for customers ages 60 or older will be able to shop through April 28.

Whole Foods Market: All Whole Foods Market stores in the U.S. and Canada will let customers who are 60 and older shop one hour before opening to the public.

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