“All my paid work is suspended”
This volunteer now makes grocery deliveries to seniors for free.
I started my business Door to Door and More Inc in January 2019. I offer seniors in Caledon transportation and accompaniment to appointments, along with non-medical in-house support, such as shopping for groceries and cooking.
I remember the Friday in March when it was announced that the libraries were closing (March 13). That week I’d been working with a 92-year-old woman, going shopping for her, driving her to medical appointments and helping her at home. We talked and together decided to halt my service for the time being, which was the right thing to do – seniors are at such high risk for this virus. At the same time, medical appointments for other seniors I work with were being cancelled. I remember thinking it was all so bewildering.
I live with my 92-year-old mother and my partner, Nick Liapis, south of Inglewood. I said to Nick, “I can still do my work.” Even if I could no longer take seniors out shopping, I could volunteer to shop for them and bring them what they need. Seniors only pay for the groceries they order. They send me a cheque or use e-transfer.
I wear a mask and gloves and drop the bags at the door before knocking, stepping away before people answer. I’ve only touched the handles, so I tell them to grab the bags by the sides and wipe down the groceries when they unpack. I deliver to two seniors who aren’t able to do wipe downs, so I do it for them before I drop them off.
I treat my car as my “safe place” where I can touch anything inside, but I consider everything outside “not safe”. I put on and remove my mask and gloves outside the car.
All my paid work is suspended. I’ve received the CERB grant, so I’m fine. People are kind and very gracious. When I come to the door I sense such relief that this overwhelming task is done. I can tell they want to shake my hand, but of course we don’t. There are many smiles. It’s very rewarding.
Others are supporting this effort. One woman approached me to offer to pay grocery bills for seniors who can’t afford groceries right now. Caledon is not a place where it’s easy to come out and say you have no money. I’ve added information on my website doortodoorandmore.com and my social media accounts saying I will cover the upfront costs and we can sort it out later. She and others are donating potted flowers and other items free with deliveries. The folks at Wicked Shortbread are donating cookies. Another woman is fundraising. Others have offered to shop and drive if I get too busy. The generosity of people in the community has been nothing less than incredible.
I recently received a phone message from a woman in Inglewood who said she just wanted to say what I was doing was very important and to thank me. She didn’t leave her name – that made me teary. That’s why I want to do this. I think what goes around comes around.
As told to Tralee Pearce. This interview was condensed and edited.
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