In the heart of Summit, a group of dedicated volunteers is making a significant impact on the lives of elderly individuals through SAGE Eldercare’s Senior Shopping Service. This vital program ensures that seniors in Berkeley Heights, Chatham, Millburn, Mountainside, New Providence, Short Hills, Springfield, and Summit, receive personalized shopping experiences that go beyond just grocery deliveries.

Meet the dedicated individuals behind SAGE’s Senior Shopping Service, Laurie Monroe and Megan Sitar, who both started as shopping volunteers and now serve as shopping coordinators for their teams of volunteers.

The Senior Shopping Service is all about providing seniors with a personalized shopping experience. Each week, seniors provide their grocery lists, and two checks: one for the $15 service fee to SAGE and another left blank for their grocery expenses. Then volunteers visit ShopRite and call clients from the market for alternatives if items are unavailable. Afterwards, they deliver the groceries. The best part? Volunteers even take the extra step of putting away the groceries for their clients. Additionally, the service can help clients set up a ShopRite card and check cashing service for added convenience.

The benefits of this service are immense:

  • Personalization and Care: Clients can rest assured that their preferences and needs are considered. They have direct contact with their shopper, ensuring they get exactly what they want.
  • Consistency and Relationships: The service fosters a strong bond between clients and volunteers. With the same volunteer shopper and delivery person consistently serving them, clients build lasting relationships that go beyond just shopping.
  • Last-Minute Additions: Clients can add last-minute items to their list, ensuring that their immediate needs are met.
  • Accessibility: The service is very personalized, meaning seniors don’t need to be tech-savvy or own a computer to participate.
  • Security: SAGE is insured and bonded and screens all volunteers, providing peace of mind compared to using random individuals or services like Instacart.

Clients often have special requests, showcasing the volunteers’ dedication to fulfilling them. For instance, some clients have distinct preferences, like the one who requested a particular brand of yogurt that took three weeks to find because she couldn’t remember the name. Others have a sweet tooth and request specific treats, such as individually wrapped Entenmann’s crumb buns.

Why Volunteer? Volunteering offers a unique opportunity to develop bonds with elderly people and build lovely, lasting relationships. It is an active volunteer position that keeps volunteers engaged, ensuring that they remain far from a sedentary lifestyle. Most importantly, volunteers play a crucial role in improving the lives of homebound seniors who greatly benefit from the support and companionship they provide. SAGE Eldercare’s Senior Shopping Service is a shining example of how a community can come together to uplift its elderly members. It offers personalized shopping experiences, deepens connections, and brings joy to both volunteers and clients.

To register for the shopping service or become a shopping volunteer, please call 908-273-5554. Deliveries are Wednesdays to Berkeley Heights, Chatham, Millburn, Mountainside, and on Thursdays to Springfield, Short Hills, Summit, and New Providence.