Sheila Godsell, volunteer co-captain at the Thrifty Foods Maple Ridge location, takes orders Thursday morning. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

Sendial helps housebound with groceries in Maple Ridge

Thrifty Foods in Maple Ridge has been offering the program for the past six years

A program that helps housebound people do their grocery shopping is operating out of the Thrifty Foods in Maple Ridge.

Sendial helps people on a long term or short term basis who are unable to leave the homes to do their shopping independently.

”It’s for people who have challenges shopping independently. So most of them tend to be seniors but you don’t have to be,” explained program coordinator Lynanne Smith.

“There could be somebody who has a disability. Maybe they are wheelchair bound. Maybe they’ve had a knee replacement or a broken bone that takes them off their feet for a couple of weeks or a month,” she continued.

Once registered participants will end up on a phone list of customers that are called once a week for their grocery order.

A team of five volunteers run the program at the Maple Ridge Thrifty Foods in Haney Place Mall.

On Thursday morning an order taking volunteer will call the customer to get their order.

Sheila Godsell, volunteer co-captain at the Maple Ridge store explains that order taking is no easy task. Every week she makes herself familiar with the flier before making her calls. She is also on the look out for better deals for customers and will call them back if she finds one.

“Food is very detailed you can’t just say grab me some bread please,” explained Smith.

Then on Friday morning volunteer shoppers package the items and Thrifty’s takes care of the monetary aspect and delivery of the groceries. A delivery charge of $5 is added to the bill.

The program started in 1987 at the Fairfield, Victoria location and was born out of the collaborative vision of Thrifty Foods customer and seniors advocate Prue Cunningham and founder Alex Campbell Senior. It began six years ago in Maple Ridge.

So far there are ten people on the Maple Ridge client list and six to eight orders are taken each week by the volunteer team.

Currently Sendial runs at all 24 Thrifty Foods locations, including five in the Lower Mainland and serve more than 700 customers every week.

The Maple Ridge team is looking for one more volunteer to help out on Thursday mornings with the order taking.

Smith says anyone interested should have a good telephone manner, knowledge or grocery or food products, patience, good hand writing or printing, “because we do actually write in manual format,” a positive attitude and looking for a fun experience.

“The expectation is it is a weekly shift,” said Smith adding that it is a fantastic experience.

She noted there are more than 550 volunteers connected network-wide by the program and around 30 per cent of them have been with the program for more than ten years.

“So people do enjoy the role and stay connected for a very long time,” said Smith.

“(Volunteers gain) a connection to their community, to the store and a great experience in knowing that they are providing help to those in need,” she said.

Anyone interested in becoming a client or volunteering can call Thrifty Foods customer care line at 1-800-667-8280 or email

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