The question was asked at a COVID-19 meeting in late March. How were homebound and others who shouldn’t go out, going to get groceries, medicine and other needed supplies with stay-at-home orders in place?
The answer has turned out to be a small army of volunteers including employees of local grocery and country stores.
On March 23, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice issued at stay-at-home executive order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It required residents to limit travel to that which was essential, including going to and from work, grocery stores and doctor appointments.
Seniors and individuals with underlying health issues were advised to shelter in place, since the virus was especially devastating to those populations.
“When the initial questions came up, Bill Ours asked if the CERT volunteers could organize a project,” said CERT Coordinator Fran Welton.
The Community Emergency Response Team is a group of volunteers that are trained to assist first responders in the event of a disaster, natural or manmade.
William Ours is the Hardy County Health Department Administrator.
At first, Welton envisioned homebound residents calling grocery stores and placing their orders. Store employees would gather the items and volunteers would pick up the order and deliver it to the homebound person. The charges for the items would be paid with a credit or debit card, so no cash would be exchanged.
Of course, often not all things are as simple as we imagine.
“The larger grocery stores said they didn’t have the manpower to actually do the shopping,” Welton said. “While WalMart has online ordering and store pick up on some items, they don’t for grocery items.”
Kerr’s Grocery in Wardensville, Misty Valley in Mathias, A Corner Mart in Baker and the Old Fields Country Store said they were more than willing to fill phone orders from customers, Welton said.
“We realized we needed to reach out to other volunteers to field phone calls and actually do the grocery shopping and delivery,” she said.
As usual, Hardy countians stepped up to the challenge. The Moorefield Presbyterian Church, John Buckley in Mathias and Elaine Rinard of Wardensville fielded the phone calls.
Thanks to the CERT volunteers, the Moorefield Ministerial Association, Pastor Mike Funkhouser and Elaine Rinard’s East Hardy County Elves, Pastors Rob Kerr and Dean Williams of the Lost River Ministerial Association, Pastor Dan Howard of the Old Fields Baptist Church and the Moorefield Active Caring (MAC House), dozens of deliveries of groceries and personal care items have been made.
All of the volunteers are working under the Hardy County Office of Emergency Management and the Hardy County CERT program. There are a total of 15 volunteers assisting. Their hours and mileage are being captured and will become part of the record of Hardy County’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you need assistance or would like to volunteer, call 304-538-2511.