Stepping up to help grocery shop for seniors and adults living with disabilities

April 16, 2020
Regence Medicare employee volunteers 1

Prior to COVID-19 and response measures, Regence employee volunteers and Store to Door teamed up to help address food insecurity and social isolation

By Regence

Main photo: Regence employees volunteering, prior to COVID-19 and related social distancing to help slow the virus from spreading. Regence employees are currently working remote while following guidelines to combat COVID-19.

While people practice social distancing and other healthy habits to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping up with regular routines can feel overwhelming. Day-to-day activities are considerably more challenging, however, for those who are homebound due to age, health conditions, and other barriers.

In the spirit of neighbor helping neighbor, a group of Regence Medicare employees recently teamed up to give back to the community by partnering with the nonprofit Store to Door. Founded in 1989, Store to Door is driven by its mission to support independent living for Portland area seniors and people living with disabilities by providing grocery shopping and delivery services.

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Members of Regence’s Medicare team came together to shop for vulnerable Portlanders, including Ken Azbill, based in Idaho, who also volunteers with the Idaho Senior Games. Volunteering took place prior to COVID-19 social distancing.

Regence Medicare volunteers spent a half day shopping for groceries and other essential items for 70 seniors in Portland. “There’s a lot of need within our local senior community, as well as opportunities to help give back,” said Dara Smith, director of Regence’s Medicare product and sales. “It’s great to be able to improve the lives of seniors both through our day-to-day work and volunteering.”

In 2019, Store to Door served more than 700 seniors due to the support of nearly 1,500 volunteers. “Our clients are members of an extremely marginalized and overlooked community,” explained Terri Wiley, Store to Door Development Director. “These are people who are at high risk for food insecurity, isolation and displacement from their homes. Our volunteer program helps address these social determinants of health by providing a way for vulnerable seniors to access healthy food and other necessities.”

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Regence volunteers make time for fun while they gather groceries for local seniors. Volunteering took place prior to COVID-19 social distancing.

Volunteering with Store to Door doesn’t stop at the store, Wiley explains. “Store to Door staff also work with volunteers to help put groceries away in the homes of our seniors. The small amount of companionship helps address social isolation, which is sadly common for many. Some volunteers have even formed lasting friendships with their matched seniors over the years.”

Learn more about how Regence supports the communities we serve, especially as we work together through the COVID-19 pandemic.

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