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Nonprofit Delivers Groceries To Long Islanders Homebound By Coronavirus

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Mike Groll
/
AP

A volunteer program on the East End of Long Island is delivering groceries to more than a 100 people who are homebound and can’t get to a food market during the pandemic.

OLA of Eastern Long Island is a Latino-focused non-profit group. They’ve been running a food delivery program in the past few weeks to get groceries to the homebound.

Executive Director Minerva Perez says the definition of homebound is growing to include more people because of the coronavirus.

“It could be you’ve had able-bodied people who are working, but now they’re not able to work, they have no transportation, maybe they have a sick person in the home, an elderly person, a young child. And they are not able to get out and get to a grocery store or get to a food pantry.”

OLA has organized a volunteer group that makes shopping runs.
 

“We have about 30 volunteers, right now, that are either accessible to bring food to someone’s doorstep, to get a grocery cart and drop that off with that person, making limited or no contact whatsoever.”

She says many volunteers were already shopping for themselves and they use that trip to buy more food for more people. OLA reimburses them for the additional supplies.

She says the volunteer-based help works in the short term, but Suffolk hasn’t hit its peak yet with the virus. If this becomes a long-term situation, the county will need to get involved.

“What’s the other plan where we might have to activate a municipal-based delivery system for those who are homebound? Not everyone is going to be requiring that kind of help, but we need those plans in place.”

Perez says the organization helps everyone in need and anyone can volunteer whether they speak Spanish or not.

If you live on the East End and need groceries delivered because you’re homebound or you want to help, you contact OLA at 631-899-3441.

Read the latest on WSHU’s coronavirus coverage here.

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Jay Shah is a former Long Island bureau chief at WSHU.