MOUNTAINSIDE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A Union County town is stepping up to help those who are most vulnerable during these dangerous times.

The purpose of the neighbor/senior buddy program is to make it so senior citizens don’t have to shop for themselves.

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Gloves on, grocery bags packed, a group of 30-plus volunteers in Mountainside meet daily to pick up meals and food supplies to distribute them to local seniors. Kim Moriak coordinates the program.

“Seniors are paired up with a buddy, a volunteer, and the volunteer goes out and shops for them,” Moriak told CBS2’s Meg Baker on Tuesday.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

During a time when all of us should be practicing social distancing, it’s even more important to keep those that are most vulnerable home.

“They have issues, between their age and their health and compromising situations, so they are very nervous about this. They don’t want to go out,” Moriak said. “Our volunteers have been trained to not enter into the house. The senior leaves the money outside the door, taped to the door and then the volunteer leaves meal and calls them to let them know it was delivered.”

Mary Root is in her 90s.

“Oh, it’s wonderful. I want to thank you and your ladies for helping us. It’s been great to be able to have my meals delivered and my groceries, as well,” Root said.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The group distributes more than 50 hot meals a day, plus groceries.

“People feel that they need to give back. They feel that this is the time they can do it. It’s drawing the community together, it’s drawing society together really, and we’re all able to make a difference and they are making a huge difference in these seniors’ lives,” Moriak said.

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New bonds are being created during a crisis that they hope to continue once coronavirus is long gone.

Mountainside seniors can find information on signing up for the program on the borough’s homepage by contacting Moriak. Volunteers are always welcome. For more information, please click here.

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