Food Hamper Delivery to Seniors & the Immunocompromised

The Cause

From the beginning of the pandemic, we had several clients who were unable to leave their homes, whether they had been diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19, or were immunocompromised. To ensure that they could still access food they needed, we partnered with the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights (JHC) to deliver food hampers. This program served hundreds of households in the spring, and has continued to run for our most vulnerable clients. In order to keep serving these clients, we intend to continue this program for the foreseeable future.

Even though our partnership with the John Humphrey Centre has ended, JHC was instrumental in helping us create this program, and they directed many vulnerable clients towards it and their volunteers delivered hundreds of hampers. Staff and volunteers from the Food Bank will now oversee this process from start to finish, and hampers will be delivered in our refrigerated vans instead of volunteers’ personal vehicles.

A delivery program has been a long sought after goal of our organization, and now is a necessity. The criteria for a client to request that their hamper be delivered are as such:
- They are self-isolating (either because they are awaiting results, or have tested positive)
- OR they are over 65, and no one else is available to pick up on their behalf
- OR they are immunocompromised or have a chronic condition, and no one else is available to pick up on their behalf
- OR they are single parent with young children, and have no vehicle, and no one else is available to pick up on their behalf
- AND they are not leaving their home for any reason, including for work, shopping, or socializing.

These hampers have the same contents as our regular ones, with both fresh and non-perishable food, and any other special requests our clients may have (basic hygiene items like toothpaste or soap, toilet paper, laundry detergent, diapers, etc.). These hampers will last about four to six days, and we will provide resources to help clients find other services to ensure they have the food they need for the long term. Clients who are unable to leave their homes for extended periods may request additional support.

To help fight the virus and to support our clients as they try to adhere to the City of Edmonton mask bylaw, we will be including basic personal protective equipment along with the hampers we deliver. These items will help our clients to be safe when they are able to leave their homes again.

Who Will it Benefit?

This program will benefit our most vulnerable clients who are older, immunocompromised, or sick, and who friends and family members are unable to pick up food for them. Many of these clients do not drive either, which further limits their access to food and, if they were required to collect their hamper at a community depot, would increase their risk of exposure be necessitating that they took public transit.

While only about 3% of our total clients are seniors, in recent surveys of our clients 25% rated their health as poor, and over 40% said it was only fair. COVID-19 is much more dangerous to seniors and those with existing medical conditions, and those who are low income are more likely to have existing conditions. By delivering hampers directly to their homes, we are reducing the risk of transmission, while still ensuring that those in need can have food to put on the table.

This program will also indirectly benefit our depot volunteers and our community at large, as reassigning clients from pick-ups at community depots to the delivery system will reduce the possibility of transmission.