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Young people form volunteer group to help San Diego seniors get free groceries

It's a grassroots effort to deliver free groceries to seniors during this pandemic.

SAN DIEGO — Volunteers are filling bags of groceries and delivering them to seniors stuck inside due to coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns.

“If we are able to help just one person because of this avoid getting COVID-19, then we've done our job,” said volunteer Sarah Glover. “We've done our work.”

They call it "Stay Home SD." It's an idea that started when someone noticed a 90-year-old man waiting in a long line just to buy some bananas. That person sent out a group text about it to friends. Sydney Prochnow was on the chain.

“Hey - this is a problem in our community,” Sydney said. “'Let's try to figure it out and let's help these people. Whatever we can do.' Immediately, there were six of us. 'I'm in - what can we do? Let's get it going.'”

Seniors can request items from a list on the site or call in their order to (619) 800-3252. Most deliveries take place within a few hours. The service became so popular, so fast, that they almost ran out of money in three days. To keep running, they started a GoFundMe page and the donations poured in.

“We just have a lot of good hearts and a lot of good people willing to help us and it's amazing,” said Sydney. 

They've been able to work out deals with stores to buy eggs and other popular items, but their volunteers have waited hours in line to get those hard-to-find necessities.

RELATED: Senior Resource Guide: helping seniors and people with preexisting conditions in San Diego

To keep everything as safe as possible, volunteers sanitize all the food when it arrives and wear gloves to bag it. Delivery drivers - also wearing gloves and masks - have no contact with customers. The service just started, but volunteers have already made nearly 300 deliveries all over the county.

“We've touched so many people,” Sarah said. “We’ve really been able to help those people that can't go out of their houses and shouldn't go out of their houses.”

RELATED: San Diego grocery stores, shoppers handle increased demand

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