Before Dorothy McNee punches in the phone number for her next customer, she arms her self with the necessary tools.
In her left hand is Thrifty Foods’ weekly flyer, in her right, a pen. In front is the order form for her next call.
It’s a process McNee repeats every Monday morning as one of 23 volunteers at the Tuscany Village Thrifty Foods location with Thrifty’s Sendial program. The program has two types of volunteers, the call takers, such as Dorothy, and the shoppers. Customers are mostly older adults and others who are unable to get to the grocery store by their own means.
“I started doing it 12 years ago with a friend and I’m still here, I just enjoy doing it,” McNee said. “It could be me one day down the road, I might need the help.”
Sendial started 30 years ago and has grown to more than 1,100 registered clients, and more than 550 volunteers in 24 Thrifty Foods stores, 11 in Greater Victoria, eight more on the Island, one on Salt Spring and five on the Lower Mainland.
The Tuscany Village store, however, could use one more phone caller. At the moment, McNee is coming in on Sundays to cover an extra shift.
“We are consistently struggling to find volunteers to do the order taking,” said Lynanne Smith, program co-ordinator. “We are confident there are great people in the community that would be willing to take on the role if they are aware of the need.”
Volunteers need clear speaking and writing skills, good hearing, attention to detail and need to know grocery products. Shifts take about two to three hours, once a week.
“After a while you know what your [customers] want,” McNee said. “I try to offer the specials, some people say ‘no, I only want what I want,’ and we get along great.”
Anyone interested in volunteering for the Sendial program can apply through firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 250-544-1234, Ext. 2.