Erin loads her vehicle while volunteering as a driver for a new Food Share program providing home grocery delivery.

For Judie, an 80-year-old Salem resident with limited mobility, accessing pantries isn’t easy. She relies on her children for transportation, but they work during the day and aren’t available to take Judie to pantries while they’re open.

That’s why she was excited when she recently received a flyer in the mail with information about the Food Share’s new home grocery delivery program.

“I went, ‘Oh my gosh, look at that, they’ll deliver it to your house.’ I couldn’t believe it!” Judie says. “I called and signed up, and it’s been wonderful.”

Marion Polk Food Share’s network of pantries play a vital role in providing food assistance for community members in need. Every month, over 10,000 households visit Food Share partner agencies for help putting nutritious food on the table.

Erin delivers milk and other fresh items to a home grocery delivery client at a mobile home community in Salem.

For some of our neighbors like Judie, however, visiting a pantry is not always feasible. Many people experiencing food insecurity are also lacking viable transportation; others have work schedules or other commitments that prevent them from accessing pantries during the hours they’re open, or may not be able to be out in public due to disabilities or risk of illness.

The Food Share began piloting the home delivery program last summer to reach local families, seniors, and individuals that are unable to seek assistance at pantries.

“We decided to try getting groceries to folks to eliminate barriers,” says Megan Rivera, the Food Share’s Director of Community Programs. “We don’t want anyone stuck at home hungry.”

The Food Share’s volunteer team helped grow a base of drivers to pilot the home grocery delivery program in Salem and Keizer.

One such volunteer is Erin, who signed on as a driver while her kids were in school. Spending a couple hours a week making deliveries is a great way to connect with the people the program serves, she says, and delivery recipients are always glad to see her and thankful for the help.

“I think they look forward to this,” Erin says. “They’re always cheerful, always happy.”

Judie echoes that sentiment. It’s been a huge relief to receive deliveries of fresh food and not have to worry about also making it to a pantry, she says.

“It’s a fantastic way to treat seniors and disabled people,” Judie says. “It’s just a wonderful experience and it’s a wonderful thing for people like me.”