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Grocery shopping program comes to the aid of Richmond senior 

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 10:27 PDT, Mon September 13, 2021

Every week, Susan phones local seniors and takes their grocery orders. A volunteer with Richmond Cares, Richmond Gives (RCRG), she supports the agency’s grocery shopping program, which, last year, filled and delivered 5,700 orders for older adults. 

It was a Monday night, and Susan couldn’t reach one of her regular clients, who lived alone and had difficulty seeing. Concerned, she informed Pamela Lui, the program co-ordinator. Lui tried phoning the next morning, but there was still no answer. She tried the Richmond Hospital as well, but there was no record of the client being admitted. 

That’s when Lui turned to her program partners at Safeway—Seafair. She asked Bob Schildt, a delivery driver, to check in on the client while making his other deliveries. 

“In the course of running this program, we get to know our clients quite well,” says Lui. “Many of them don’t have family or friends nearby, so, in addition to bringing them groceries, we try to check up on their health and wellbeing.” 

When Schildt arrived at the client’s home, he could faintly hear someone calling for help. After contacting Lui, who called 911, he borrowed a ladder from a neighbour and climbed to the client’s second-floor window. After removing the screen, Schildt went inside, where he found the senior in his bathtub. He had been unable to get himself out, and had been stuck there for four days, surviving on tap water. The paramedics arrived, and while the senior was understandably shaken, he’s expected to make a full recovery. 

“We’re thankful that the client is okay,” says Ed Gavsie, president and chief executive officer of RCRG. “We often say our services help keep seniors connected to their community, and this incident illustrates what we mean. Our staff, volunteers, and partners at Safeway acted as this client’s support network, creating a positive outcome from what could have been a tragic situation.”  

Along with grocery shopping, RCRG’s Seniors Community Support Services include friendly visiting, transportation, light housekeeping, and senior peer counselling. For more information, visit www.rcrg.org/Seniors.  

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