As the world tried to understand the coronavirus pandemic, health authorities advised citizens to stay home, especially the kupuna community who were most vulnerable.
It was St. Patrick’s Day when Kaleaho resident Eric Pomroy saw a friend’s post promoting his venture, “Stay Home San Diego,” a home delivery-request service to provide elderly residents with goods so they wouldn’t have to trek out to stores themselves.
Pomroy thought of his own grandmother, who is 96, and how she wouldn’t be able to receive the stuff she needed if his parents weren’t there for her. Then, he looked up the website domain name “Stay Home Kaua‘i.” Enlisting the help of his wife, Susan, and a group of friends, they launched their own delivery-request service for kupuna on the island.
“Stay Home Kaua‘i is a stop-gap as the county and state got up to speed to help out kupuna,” Pomroy said of the early inception of the project. He sees it as a supplement to programs like the county’s Kupuna Kares for Farmers Fares that allows kupuna to choose the items they’re seeking from a short list.
The group delivers an assortment of goods, allowing kupuna to choose the items they need from a list that includes milk, orange juice, beans, fresh produce, pasta, leafy greens and fruit. Kupuna can also request items like medicines, sanitizers and toilet paper. At no charge to kupuna, Pomroy and his wife shop local as much as they can, hitting up farmers’ markets and stands, but also buy in bulk at Costco.
“I know prices of groceries better than I’ve ever known them before,” Pomroy said with a laugh.
When they first started, Pomroy was heading out nearly every day using his own money, delivering to five to six kupuna each afternoon. Now, they’re making deliveries every two days. The site gets about 10 requests a day.
Stay Home Kaua‘i isn’t associated or affiliated with any business partners, and is primarily funded by donors. So far, they’ve been able to raise about $8,000. Each bag averages out to about $17.89, so, for every $1,000 donated, about 50 kupuna are served.
Donor William J. Smith nominated the group for the Hometown Heroes award, citing their “compassionate, humanitarian efforts.”
Smith said he heard about the group through word of mouth. Smith, a donor himself, has seen first hand the help Pomroy and the group have provided the island.
“I can personally attest to its legitimacy and honest purpose,” Smith said.
After the website launched, Pomroy posted the link to Kaua‘i Rants and Raves. Steadily, he watched hits to the website grow and saw requests come in. Some people would request on behalf of their parents, or caregivers would sign in for their patients.
Pomroy said the group has made over 300 trips, but it’s becoming more difficult.
“We get plenty of requests, but we don’t have the infrastructure,” Pomroy said. “We’re a true grassroots program.”
Last week, Stay Home Kaua‘i had to momentarily halt requests due to a lack of funds. Through recent generous donations from Holoholo Grill at Koloa Landing Resort, the resort itself and individual donors, the group was able to get back up and running to make 23 deliveries Saturday.
When somebody requests goods, Pomroy calls them to ensure he’s picking up the correct items. Each call can be 10 to 15 minutes, a refreshing chat with somebody new or catching up with someone who has requested before. On Tuesday, he and his wife planned to make another 10 deliveries. “It’s a blessing,” Pomroy said.
To learn more or donate, visit stayhomekauai.com.
Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.