Amazon Urged To Prioritize Food Deliveries To Group Homes
Amazon is being asked to help ensure that people with developmental disabilities living in group homes and other community settings can access groceries and necessities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A trade group representing more than 1,600 disability service providers across the nation wrote to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos imploring him to prioritize food deliveries to people with developmental disabilities.
“Unlike nursing homes, psychiatric facilities and medical hospitals, trucks do not deliver food to these settings,” wrote Barbara Merrill, CEO of the American Network of Community Options and Resources, or ANCOR, in the letter sent late last month. “Rather, direct support workers — often accompanied by the people they support — shop at local grocery stores.”
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But with coronavirus spreading, getting to stores is becoming less feasible, Merrill indicated. The letter urges Bezos to “prioritize delivery of food and other essential staples to disability service provider organizations that support people in the community.”
“Doing so would make a world of difference for the people who don’t have a truckload of groceries coming to their small group home, who don’t have direct support professionals who can take them shopping and who may lack access to the resources needed to navigate the community on their own,” Merrill wrote.
ANCOR was prompted to reach out to Amazon after hearing that many of their member organizations were struggling to buy essentials on the retail giant’s website because items were out of stock, had minimum purchase requirements or delayed delivery times, said Sean Luechtefeld, a spokesman for the nonprofit.
Luechtefeld said ANCOR has been in touch with Amazon, but that no arrangement has been reached yet. He said the group is hopeful that other retailers will step up to address the unique needs of people with developmental disabilities during the pandemic as well.
An Amazon spokesperson confirmed that the company is in talks with ANCOR.
“We continue to be focused on providing an essential service to as many customers as possible, including those who are most vulnerable. We are working hard to identify ways to deliver groceries to more customers, like adding more delivery windows throughout the day,” the company said in a statement.