Amid the coronavirus outbreak, local businesses and groups are building essential kits to help seniors and others in need of supplies.
Radiant Community Services, 15522 W. Paradise Lane, Surprise, is partnering with Convoy of Hope and the City of Surprise to distribute food, water and essential goods for individuals and families in need during the coronavirus pandemic.
Down in Peoria, Advant-Edge Decorative Curbing and Landscaping Inc. on Thursday and Friday had been filling around 270 essential kits in the form of buckets to distribute to seniors and families in need. They gathered at their nursery in Peoria Saturday morning to distribute the kits.
“We have decided during this time to use our marketing dollars to buy much needed supplies for families in need,” the company stated on Facebook. “We are all struggling during this time with our new normal life.”
The kits included a clean food grade bucket with a lid that can be used for food storage or cleaning, toilet paper, paper towels, tissue, bleach or disinfecting wipes and gloves.
The company provided 120 of the kits to senior citizens at the Peoria Community Center while the others went to families in need.
The company hopes to have more drives if they are able to buy more supplies or receive any donations.
Back over in Surprise, Radiant and Convoy are starting distribution of supplies Monday, March 30 and will continue 9 a.m.-noon Monday-Thursday.
“The need is great in this time of crisis. People are losing jobs and hope,” stated Greg Marquart, CEO of Radiant Community Services and Lead Pastor at Radiant Church. “The last seven years, Radiant Church has been giving that hope to literally thousands of lives. So it is only natural for us to respond. Together, with one of FEMA’s major partners, Convoy of Hope, we can make a difference in the lives of the people of Surprise and other surrounding cities and areas.”
The distribution is at the Surprise campus of Radiant Church. It is for individuals and families in need and will be done in a drive-thru fashion. Everyone can stay in their vehicles and volunteers will load them with the needed supplies to maintain social distancing guidelines.
The supplies will include paper products, diapers, water, can goods, cereals and more.
“This distribution will be for those in need and not to stockpile,” Radiant stated. “So if someone has no food or very little food, this would be a great help to those individuals or families.”
The church is also a donation site for Surprise. If individuals or businesses want to make a financial donation, drop off food, resources or goods, office hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Thursday.
And over in Paradise Valley, real estate agents are working to pair up with those most vulnerable to the coronavirus by offering to run errands for seniors 65 and older or those with underlying health issues.
“We know you are healthy enough to do the errands yourself but you are in one of the high-risk categories, so please allow us to help out!” a letter from Shawna Glazier states.
Ms. Glazier says they have 12 real estate agents ready to help but have access to around 200 agents if the need is there.
“The harder part is finding residents who will accept the help and not so much finding the helpers,” she said. “Also, It’s important to note that there are so many great apps and online tools that residents can use for food and supply delivery or finding someone to help but the biggest problem is those in need are in the age group that doesn’t know how to use the online tools. I’m trying to set up something close to a buddy system so the agents can teach or assist the elderly how to order online.”
She also notes that real estate agents hold current real estate licenses and a fingerprint clearance card from the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
Elsewhere, the Arizona National Guard is expanding their logistics missions as Citizen Soldiers and Airmen are filling shelves and clearing stockrooms of 87 grocery stores across 15 counties of the state.
The activities are a response to Gov. Doug Ducey’s order to activate the Guard to help grocery stores and foodbanks with logistical capacity to meet the rising demand of food and other goods triggered by fears of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Our efforts are intended to reduce the concern that builds in the public when they see empty shelves,” stated Maj. Gen. Michael T. McGuire, Arizona’s Adjutant General. “We are helping surge capacity for our retail partner’s distribution centers to secure and sustain the transport of food and supplies to where there is the greatest need.”
The Arizona National Guard has more than 8,000 Citizen-Soldiers, Airmen and civilian employees with specific skillsets to assist local communities in bridging the immediate logistical gap. They will be working with the state’s civilian workforce and volunteer organizations to transport much needed supplies to stock grocery stores and foodbanks.