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How to help locally with Coronavirus preparations


By Paul Krupin, Special to the Cedar Springs Post

Coronavirus concerns are on everyone’s mind. One of the most important questions that looms large is how we can help each other. How can we each make a difference?

Many people have a robust front-line support system who we can rely on for help and who we can provide assistance to. This includes our families, friends, neighbors, the clubs, and religious groups we participate in, and the local community organizations.

However, there are other people who do not have a support network and who will need help during the coming times. Identifying those who need help and getting them the right help will be particularly important. 

Here are some ideas on what you can do to help.

Organize Local Support Groups

Start local. Get a notebook and start taking notes. Create a local neighborhood support circle or network and write down the names of people, their addresses, how many people live in the residence, phone numbers, email, social media. If they don’t want to provide the information, that’s fine but keep tabs on them.

Pay attention and stay aware of people’s situation.  Ask people if they want to help and how they prefer to communicate.

Form small teams and share skills, capabilities and resources that are in short supply with other teams.

Adopt a Neighbor

Call on seniors, people who live alone, families with elderly or small children, or people with learning or physical disabilities. Exchange contact information and ask them how they are doing and what they need.

Look for vulnerable people. Check on people regularly. Stay aware of their situation. Ask them if anything has changed.  Ask them what they need.

Check on people in their homes. Help them with everyday tasks that are beyond their capabilities. Let others know what you learn. Think about the people close to home, on your block, in your neighborhood.

Make contact now especially with people who are in a high-risk category, may be in need, and do not have a healthy caregiver. Know how many people are there and what their situation is. Offer to assist with normal day to day tasks that become difficult if someone gets sick. Like moving garbage pails to the curb and grabbing the mail.

It need not be complex care. It will be helpful to pair people up and create a buddy system. Consider cooking extra food and bringing pre-cooked meals for families in which everyone or the main caregivers are sick. Practice doorway and porch delivery.

Volunteer

Local community organizations, businesses, and care organizations are heightening their capabilities to serve the public safely. There are organizations that provide support to the elderly and those with disabilities, to the homeless, to young people, as well as those with anxiety and mental illnesses, who have disabilities, learning difficulties or a number of other issues.  There are businesses and facilities that offer support for sickness, recovery and rehabilitation.

Reach out and link with these organizations.  Go visit and ask the food banks, retirement homes, children’s, women’s and veterans living centers and find out what they are doing and what they need. 

Many organizations are looking for volunteers, especially students and young people, to help provide additional capabilities over the next four to six months.

If the staff gets sick, many businesses and care companies in particular will be actively seeking people to take the place of care workers. 

If you are healthy, send them an email, contact then through their websites or social media pages, or call them and offer them help. Let them know what sort of skills you have or capabilities you can provide.

Donate to the food banks, homes, shelters

There are several food banks in the area. They will accept canned goods and unopened packaged goods not yet expired.  They will also welcome financial donations and put them to good work.

If you have extra supplies at home consider building a care package. Things in short supply include: hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, soaps, rags, tissues, paper towels, toilet paper, sponges, mops, plastic or latex gloves, buckets, soaps, laundry detergent, disinfectant aspirin, Tylenol, and immune system supplements. If you have extra new bottles of cold medicines these will also be provided to those in need.

Look in the phone book or on organization websites to see the best way to donate or contact them to get involved.

Some of the organizations are instituting procedures for remote drop off of donations and drive through pickup of care packages. Pay attention to new procedures to reduce the risk of face to face exposure.

Get Involved in Local Organizations and Networks

If you are a member and participate in an existing organization or social network, get involved.

Many organizations have donate/volunteer or care package request buttons to their website and social media pages. Do what you can and work with your organization’s leaders and team coordinators.  Identify your skills and make yourself available.

Home Delivery/Store Pickups

Most of the major local grocery stores and chains in offer online shopping with both in-store pick up and home delivery options.  InstaCart (www.Instacart.com) and Rosies App (www.RosiesApp.com) have websites that can be searched by location to identify the participating stores in the local area.

If you know of a home-bound, less than capable, self-quarantined person or family, volunteer to go and pick up their purchases and deliver it to them. Use your phone to make porch and doorway deliveries to reduce the risk of face to face exposure.

Deep Clean and Disinfect Everywhere

Businesses should study their workplaces in detail and shut down all common free food sharing locations. At least temporarily, shut down your popcorn machines, coffee service, donuts, cookies, candy,  anything that people can touch and contaminate.

As an extra precaution, clean anything that people can touch frequently.  Disinfect often-touched surfaces such as counters, chairs, phones, door handles, keypads, tv remote controls, kitchen and stovetops, desks, restroom surfaces, etc.

Place a spray bottle and disposable paper wipes with disinfectant in your car. If you are out and about, wear gloves and wash commonly touched surfaces (doorbells, door handles, railings) before and after you touch them. 

Get in this habit: Clean. Touch. Clean Again. Everything. Everywhere. Every time. Everyone. 

If you touch it, leave it cleaner than before you touched it.  If we all do this, we can make a difference.

Bag anything that is used for disinfection in a plastic bag and dispose of it carefully so no one else can come in contact with it. 

Get Outside

Event and school cancellations and travel restrictions are going to drive people inside. One of the best ways to destress and increase social distancing is to get outside. So bundle up and head to the park.  Take a walk. Go for a hike.

Help the people you can help the most.

About the Author

Paul Krupin is a retired environmental specialist and attorney with 27 years of experience with numerous federal government agencies and another 20 years in industry. He was trained as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), nuclear emergency management team member, wilderness first aid responder, and was a county civil defense director in Idaho. He writes a weekly outdoor/ lifestyle/ environment column for the Tri-City Herald in Kennewick Washington (owned by McClatchy).  He can be reached at pjkrupin@gmail.com.

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Meijer to roll out home delivery across Midwest


 

Customers to get groceries and essentials from local Meijer delivered in as little as one hour; service to bring thousands of jobs

 No more waiting in long lines. No more trips to the grocery store after work to pick up what you forgot. No more two-hour shopping trips. And no more buying what you don’t actually need. If all that sounds good to you, you’ll love what Meijer now has to offer come March 29.

Meijer recently announced it is bringing home delivery across its six-state footprint, starting with Grand Rapids, Fort Wayne and Indianapolis, and will quickly follow with other major markets in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, and Wisconsin.

“We are excited to expand our relationship with Shipt because together we can offer customers across the Midwest a whole new level of convenience, product variety, and service not available before,” Meijer President & CEO Rick Keyes said. “Now customers can shop a complete grocery list online, having access to our world class assortment of fresh produce, meat, dairy and a number of other essentials that Shipt will hand select from a local Meijer store and deliver to a customer’s doorstep.”

Beginning on March 29, Meijer customers in Cedar Springs, Rockford and Grand Rapids with a Shipt membership will have the ability to shop 55,000 items using the Shipt smartphone app (iOS, android) or place orders directly through shipt.com. Customers can schedule their orders to be delivered in as little as one hour, seven days a week. Meijer and Shipt will also launch the service in Fort Wayne and the Indianapolis area in April. Other major markets in the Midwest will be announced in the coming months.

“The way our customers shop continues to evolve,” said Meijer Chairman Hank Meijer. “We believe the high-touch service that Shipt offers, coupled with what our customers love about shopping at Meijer, creates a new type of shopping experience.”

Bill Smith, Founder & CEO of Shipt, said the expansion of service at Meijer stores will also help create an estimated 10,000 jobs in six states in 2017. Shipt will build networks of hundreds of personal shoppers and identify opportunities to support community organizations in each Meijer market offering the service. “We are excited to partner with a leader in the retail industry who continues to put the customer first,” Smith said.

The retailer’s decision to expand the availability of digital home delivery comes after its highly successful launch of the service in the Detroit area last fall, which prompted Meijer to roll out the service to other markets. Shipt members in the Detroit area placed more than 65,000 orders since September 2016.

The Shipt delivery service is membership-based, with either annual or monthly options. For $99 a year, Shipt members receive unlimited free grocery deliveries on all orders over $35.

After signing up for Shipt, members can digitally shop a large selection of Meijer groceries, fresh produce, and everyday essentials including baby, health and beauty products. They can also note any preferences, choose a preferred delivery window and pay for their order. A Shipt shopper will hand pick their items and deliver them in as little as one hour after the order is placed.

Because most Meijer stores are open 24 hours a day, Shipt deliveries will be available at most Meijer locations around the clock, seven days a week, with the exception of certain holidays.

For more information on how to become a Shipt member and to see the full coverage areas, please go to www.shipt.com/Meijer. For more information on how to become a Shipt shopper in Grand Rapids, Fort Wayne and Indianapolis, please go to https://www.shipt.com/be-a-shopper.

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