Home-bound senior citizens in several western Minneapolis suburbs will soon be able to have their groceries delivered to their doorstep by a Twin Cities nonprofit organization.

Store To Door, a Roseville-based grocery shopping and delivery service, is planning to extend its reach into Carver County beginning today.

The service doesn't offer free food -- the clients pay for the groceries, plus a little for the delivery.

What it allows senior citizens is independence.

"We've tried to get the word out," program manager Andrea Kish-Bailey said. "I think it's going to grow pretty quickly."

Executive Director Mary Jo Schifsky says Store To Door already delivers $1.4 million worth of groceries annually to about 1,500 people in six counties.

Although Schifsky estimated the expansion will only increase their total client base by about 25 seniors initially, she said this number may grow as they recruit more volunteers. "We can only serve as many people as we have volunteers for," she said.

How it works

Store To Door's volunteers call their clients every two weeks to take their grocery orders over the phone and fill them at one of six metro-area Cub Foods stores that partner with the organization. The groceries are then delivered to the clients' homes. Kish-Bailey says the volunteers will even go so far as to open jars for clients.

"Our clients all say that our volunteers are the best part of our service," Schifsky said.

The volunteers accept payment for the groceries in the client's home, including a delivery charge of $3, $12 or $15, based on a sliding scale depending on the client's income.

By giving them the option to have their groceries delivered, the service allows seniors to remain independent. Schifsky says without it, many of their clients would have to depend on family members or even be forced to enter assisted-living facilities.

Clara Miller, 96, has been getting her groceries delivered to her Fridley home by Store To Door for more than six months and says it's been extremely helpful.

After an accident totaled her car four years ago, she became dependent on her son for periodic trips to the grocery store. Store To Door's service has taken a lot of pressure off both of them.

"It's a real service, you know," Miller said. "The people who deliver these groceries are so courteous."

Miller added that when she grew up in northern Minnesota, home delivery was a standard service offered by her family's local grocer, so the assistance offered by Store To Door was a natural move for her.

Nick Woltman is a Twin Cities freelance writer.