GPREP launches community care program for residents in need

GPREP launched a new program, Monday to assist vulnerable or isolated individuals who are unable to access essential goods and services. Mike Hensen / Daily Herald-Tribune

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The six partner municipalities of the Grande Prairie Regional Emergency Partnership (GPREP) launched a program Monday to ensure residents have continued access to essential items.

The COVID-19 Community Care Program: Food and Pharmacy is geared to assist vulnerable citizens via delivery of goods such as food and medication.

This includes those who are unable to visit stores and pharmacies because of self-isolation requirements, as directed by Alberta Health Services (AHS), as well as people who are currently without the financial support to purchase essential goods.

“We recognize that these are challenging times for all of our residents,” said Lesley Nielsen-Bjerke, information officer for GPREP.

“This program is dedicated to those at heightened risk who have no other supports available and are in urgent need of groceries, medication or essential goods.”

Specific program details and request forms have been made available on the GPREP website. Once a request is made, individuals will receive a call back from a program assessor within 24 hours of submission. If the request is approved, a driver will deliver the applicant’s request.

According to GPREP, deliveries will be made within 72 hours of request approval. For those who are able to pay for their items, the program will accept cheques, credit or debit payments.

City of Grande Prairie and County of Grande Prairie staff will be utilized as delivery personnel. Safety precautions are in place to protect citizens and drivers both physically, as well as driver and recipient confidentiality.

“We understand it’s a challenging time for everybody and so there are some individuals who aren’t able to visit stores and pharmacies because they’re in self-isolation, and there are some of those individuals who do not have a support system in place,” said Dan Lemieux, acting director of Emergency Management.

Lemieux confirmed that though the system has only just launched, requests for support are already beginning to be submitted. Statistics regarding those requests have yet to be gathered.

“It probably took us about four days to put together,” he said.

“We recognize that there are some people who perhaps have been laid off and maybe are strapped for finances, and there are others who are just following the guidelines and they’re being self-isolated and may not have some local support. That’s why we’re putting this in place now, though we’re still asking residents to be as self-sufficient as they can.”