On the first Saturday of every month a devoted group of 22 Cornerstones’ Brown Bag Program Volunteers spends the morning delivering essential groceries and toiletries to homebound, low-income, senior citizens unable to get to Cornerstones’ food pantry. These seniors find themselves homebound for a number of reasons such as debilitating medical conditions, lack of transportation, or insufficient financial resources to secure transportation to the pantry. Many simply do not have friends or relatives to support them on a regular basis.
Over 50 such households receive a monthly delivery of two to three bags of dietary staples like canned meats, eggs and milk, as well as toiletries. During summer months, they also receive fresh produce that has been gleaned by Cornerstones’ food pantry from the local farmers’ market. Throughout the course of the year, the Brown Bag Volunteers deliver between four and six thousand pounds of food, helping the seniors in our community stretch their limited fixed incomes so they do not have to choose between purchasing food and their essential medication.
Each of the 22 volunteers with the Brown Bag Program has been volunteering for more than three years; four of the volunteers have been with the program for more than eight years, including two families who involve their children with the monthly deliveries. It’s rare for volunteers in this program to call out sick or miss a monthly delivery.
“The Brown Bag volunteers provide critical resources as well as thoughtful companionship for our elderly clients. Their gracious support is essential for the well-being of those whom they serve.” Minnie Orozco, Program Manager, Cornerstone’s Food Pantry.
Each Brown Bag Program volunteer believes in developing important and lasting relationships with the seniors they serve. Thus, in addition to providing food and toiletries, many of the volunteers go above-and-beyond for each household, helping to put away groceries, take out trash, and open mail, as well as spending quality time with the seniors.
“I thank Cornerstones staff and their volunteers who take the time to bring me food every month and gifts during the holidays. I really appreciate it as being old and by myself in this country with no relatives. It really makes the difference, knowing that I have angels around me who take care not just of me but other people who are in the same situation, people not able to drive due to some health conditions and other reasons that really prevent us from going to the food pantry directly.” Norma V, Senior Citizen.