When La Jolla High School sophomore Max Stone realized the coronavirus pandemic was putting senior citizens at a higher health risk, he wanted to do something to help them.
So in mid-April he established the San Diego chapter of Zoomers to Boomers to put young people into action delivering groceries to older residents who are advised not to leave their homes.
The San Diego branch joins 21 chapters worldwide. With 24 volunteers — 17 of whom attend La Jolla High — Zoomers to Boomers San Diego is seeking out those who could use grocery delivery service.
“When I first heard about the pandemic, I thought this ... program would be beneficial for people,” Max said.
Here’s how it works: Those who would like their groceries delivered can visit zoomerstoboomers.com/san-diego or facebook.com/Zoomers-to-Boomers-107142317617553. From there, a client can fill out a shopping list (limit of 12 items) and the address to which they will be delivered, plus the form of payment.
When a Zoomers to Boomers volunteer is dispatched for shopping, he or she contacts the client about the delivery time and cost and is reimbursed the cost upon delivery. There are no delivery fees or tips.
Zoomers to Boomers uses safety precautions such as masks and gloves while shopping, and maintains social distancing while delivering.
“We want to be as safe as possible, and we take every precaution we have,” Max said. “When we are ready to deliver the groceries, the payment is dropped off in a plastic bag or transferred through Venmo, then the customer goes back in the house to maintain social distancing, we collect the payment and then we drop off the groceries.”
Deliveries are available Mondays through Saturdays and are limited to one order per week per customer. Though the majority of participants live in La Jolla, the reach is across San Diego.
“A big thing for me personally is to go wherever there is the need. This is extremely important to us, and our volunteers are anxious to start helping,” Max said. “I’ve gone on a couple of deliveries and I loved helping it.
“My family has always been into volunteering, and I know I am helping people and possibly preventing something terrible from happening that could have been avoided. From my experience, the elderly people love it. They seem very appreciative.”
One of them is La Jolla resident Howard Hian, who describes himself as being “of the COVID age” group that should not leave the house.
“I thought [Zoomers to Boomers] was an awfully nice thing to offer,” Hian said. “I was willing to try something new.”
When he called for a grocery delivery, he placed the order at 9 a.m., got a call back by 11 a.m. and his groceries at 5 p.m., he said.
“I decided to go out and wait on my porch … and an electric bike drives by and it was my delivery person. I was wowed that this kid was hustling on a bike, so I loved the concept right away,” Hian said. “I think it’s terrific and I thought it was important that there is no tipping, and they mean it.” Any tips are donated to charity.
“A typical delivery service jacks up the price with delivery fees, so if someone is on a limited budget, this is terrific,” Hian said. “These are good young kids.” ◆