Delivering Much Needed Food to Seniors
Seniors make up a significant portion of our client base. In 2020, 22% of Target Hunger’s client population was age 60 and above. We have two programs that are set up to serve seniors in our community: a Senior Home Delivery Program and Senior Day Site Program. These programs allow us to deliver food to approximately 700 clients aged 60 and over each month. Both programs also allow us the opportunity to offer our Navigation Services – a program that helps them gain access to needed services for healthcare, social services, and other vital community resources.
Seniors can register for our pantry program to receive a monthly distribution of nutritious food. Prior to the pandemic, we offered a senior home delivery service for those unable to visit food pantries. Often, these clients have health issues or lack of transportation that keep them from coming to pick up food. Our delivery service sent drivers directly to their homes with a food distribution and allowed the drivers to check-in on clients and their other needs. Our Senior Day Site Program brought us to 10 local seniors activity centers and apartment complexes to provide groceries. When the pandemic hit everything changed…
Delivering During the Pandemic
As we started to see COVID protocols come into place, our operations had to shift entirely. We transitioned from a normal pantry program to strictly serving the community through Drive-Thru Food Distributions. Keeping safety at the forefront of our minds, the way we served our seniors also needed a drastic change. Sending drivers into seniors’ homes was no longer an option for the safety of both parties, and because our drivers shifted to support the growing need (and lines) at the drive-thru distributions.
That’s where DoorDash came in. United Way Worldwide expanded their Ride United program addressing transportation needs for communities in need. Partnering with DoorDash and using “DoorDash’s last-mile logistics platform and community of Dashers” allowed the Ride United program to serve more people.
What did all this mean for Target Hunger? For us, it meant that our community of seniors would continue to receive their nutritious food in the safest way possible – DoorDash drivers pick up the food from our warehouse and leave it at our clients’ doorstep. We have also been able to serve the seniors in our Day Site Program in the same way and expanded home delivery to other families in the northeast Houston communities we serve.
The feedback from the seniors we serve has been incredible! Here are just a few of their words:
“When coming from dialysis, I do not feel like cooking I can choose what I want by warming up the food I receive from Target Hunger. The snacks at night and in the morning for breakfast such as cereal and milk are good for me. There are special foods I have to be on because of my medical needs. This is a blessing for me; it would be a lot worse if I did not have Target Hunger to supply this food every month.”
“Thanks for all your help during the Winter Storm and the ongoing pandemic. The meal boxes came on time saved trips to the grocery stores because I lacked transportation. And the calls to let us know when you were coming were both greatly appreciated. Target Hunger is most definitely a caring organization.”
“I’ve had no transportation since leaving the Peavy Center where I came daily for meals and fellowship. Wondering how I would get to the grocery store to shop for fresh vegetables, produce, and meat was mind boggling. Then, I get this call from Target Hungry saying they were going to deliver the meal boxes to my home brought tears to my eyes. You have been a blessing to me, and I thank God for your act of kindness and support.”
Though we are transitioning back to normal services, we are excited to say the DoorDash program will continue operating until the end of the year. This service has been critical to continued service in our communities, and we are so thankful for this partnership.