Mountainside implements ‘senior buddy’ program to help elderly isolated by pandemic

Posted: Updated:

A Union County town is taking an extra step to ensure that its senior population stays safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mountainside has implemented a “senior buddy” program. Volunteers can go to the public library to pick up donated or low-cost meals from local businesses and bring them to the senior citizens in town. The virus is particularly dangerous for those who are older, so the program ensures that they do not have to go out into public.

“I don’t think, even in wartime, it was anything equal to this. It’s a first for me,” says 97-year-old Connie Muirhead.

Photos: Heroes of Coronavirus Pandemic


Muirhead says that she knows that it is particularly dangerous for her to be out in public right now, so she is grateful for the buddy program.

“We did adopt-a-senior. So, we have volunteers, over 30, doing shopping for seniors,” says Mountainside senior citizen coordinator Kim Moriak.

VIRUS TRACKER: New York, New Jersey, Connecticut coronavirus cases and deaths 
MORE: LIVE BLOG - Coronavirus updates from the tri-state area and beyond
MORE: New Jersey Coronavirus Dashboard 
FULL COVERAGE: Coronavirus Pandemic

Volunteer Samantha Grindlinger works for the borough. She says that now that she is working from home, she has more time to shop for her senior buddies. She can drop the bags out in front of their doors. If the items are too heavy, she will bring them inside, while keeping a safe social distance.

“Our seniors are the ones who when I was a child helped raise me, so I’m helping in the same town and community I grew up in,” Grindlinger says.

More: Your Coronavirus Photos


“It means everything in the world to me not to have to go out,” Muirhead says.

Volunteers also keep in touch with one another. If someone can’t find an item their senior needs, they reach out to someone else who can find it.

Other towns are organizing similar programs for their senior populations.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."