MOUNT VERNON — Since it began delivering groceries and prescription medication to elderly individuals and people with underlying health conditions March 21, a community of concerned stakeholders has been making a huge difference in helping others.
More than 200 individuals have been served by a food and prescription delivery assistance program to date, said Susie Simpson, Knox Area Transit mobility manager. KAT is just one of the partners involved in the grocery and prescription deliveries, said Simpson, who acts as a coordinator for the effort. She takes phone calls, completes paperwork and serves as a dispatcher of sorts.
Other partners include United Way, numerous churches, food pantries, the Mount Vernon Police Chaplains, and the Knox Community Chaplain Corps. The effort has been so successful that it will continue at least through summer and perhaps late into the year, Simpson said. A major focus of free service is helping those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 due to their advanced age and health complications.
“I get calls every day from somebody new who needs help,” Simpson said.
Simpson said the two groups of chaplains make deliveries happen, in partnership with KAT. Some of the food comes by way of local food pantries, while other times the chaplain members shop for the elderly individual and/or pick up their prescriptions at a local grocery store. Sometimes the chaplains, of which at least one or more are on call, use their vehicles, and sometimes arrangements are made to have a KAT vehicle make the delivery. There is a lot of flexibility because those who volunteer to help others are flexible in giving their time to help, she said.
Members of both chaplain groups are themselves generous, Jerry Scott, a member of the Mount Vernon Police Chaplains, said. Spending their funds, they purchased more than 700 bags of groceries and delivered them over the first few days the collaboration was activated.
Simpson explained that if it’s a grocery order or prescription to be delivered, payment from the customer would be made by phone or through an online ordering service like Kroger’s Clicklist, which does shopping for the customer with free pickup.
“It all works out very well,” she emphasized. Simpson added that not all deliveries involve Mount Vernon. Pickups of prescriptions have been made for those who need them in Fredericktown, Danville and Centerburg, which have local pharmacies. A 92-year-old man was recently served by a delivery of groceries from his preferred local market, based near his residence in Centerburg.
“It all works out very well,” Simpson said. “Everybody participating is on board.”
Those who would like to inquire about assistance with grocery and prescription delivery service may call Simpson at (740) 485-5002.