Senior Service

May 2020 View more

By Suzanne Baker

An offer to deliver groceries and medications to senior citizens from a Naperville-based faith organization is inspiring other groups to do the same. The Islamic Center of Naperville Youth posted a Facebook message March 16 extending home delivery for seniors in the area who are physically unable to shop or choose not to leave their homes because of coronavirus concerns. Since then, similar programs popped up at Islamic centers across the Midwest, in part because of the work of the Naperville group.

Azam Mohammed said he was motivated to start a free delivery service after seeing an older couple shopping at a grocery store. “The elderly can’t go outside of the house. Why not help so many of our neighbors?” he said.

Mohammed worked with another member of ICN Youth, Ahmed Syed, to set up a hotline—773-234-6627—where people can call and members of the group would try to deliver groceries in two to three hours. About 30 volunteers ages 20 to 35 are available to help, and another 15 are on standby to assist if demand increases, Mohammed said. In the first week, ICN Youth delivered groceries to about two dozen people, he said. “This is going really well,” Mohammed said.

Most astonishing for the group was that some of the calls came from well beyond the anticipated area of Naperville, Aurora, and Bolingbrook. Because of social media, ICN Youth said it received requests from Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

“I didn’t realize how much [the Facebook message] had been shared. This situation is the first of its kind,” Mohammed said.

The farthest Mohammed traveled was 45 minutes straight west on Route 34 to Sandwich. Mohammed said he connected the out-of-state callers to Islamic centers in their areas. He said those centers were eager to help and to start their own delivery services.

“(People) obviously are really thankful for the service,” Mohammed said. “One lady was really thankful. She was giving all her blessings to us.”

Photo by Shafeek Abubaker