Critter Corner: New Fairfax County Grocery Shopping and Pharmacy Pick-up Service for Older Adults

Dear Magic,

My 85-year-old neighbor, Ruth, goes to the supermarket, but not often. Even with her facemask and rubber gloves, she doesn’t want to risk anything. She is not technologically savvy, so she cannot order online. I’ve helped a few times by picking her up some essentials, but I am so busy with my job and homeschooling my children that I cannot help as much as I would like. Are there any local programs to help my neighbor and others like her? We live in Fairfax County.


Hal Pinherr

Dear Hal,

Leaving home to pick-up groceries, prescriptions, and other necessities can be stressful for senior Fairfax County residents due to the risk of COVID-19. Older adults who are confined to their homes and who are not tech savvy are often left without many good options for getting the supplies they need.

Some people choose online ordering and delivery services to avoid shopping in person, but that requires familiarity with technology, experience with online ordering, and in many instances, delivery delays.

In response to the increased needs of residents who are 60 years old and older and who require assistance, Fairfax County, through the Health Department’s Neighbor to Neighbor Program (N2N), has launched a free grocery shopping and pharmacy pick-up service. The service is provided to seniors at private residences by volunteers who have completed background checks.

Getting Help from the Neighbor to Neighbor Program

The Neighbor to Neighbor Shopping and Pharmacy Pick-up Program is provided in partnership with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department and the Department of Family Services. To request shopping and pharmacy pick-up, your neighbor can contact the Fairfax County Aging, Disability and Caregiver Resource line at 703-324-7948.  This is also the number she can use to find out if she is eligible for financial assistance to obtain food. The service will not be provided to long-term care retirement communities, assisted living, nursing homes, group homes or other facilities. Learn more about neighbor to neighbor programs here.

Similar Programs in Other Local Areas

In Maryland, there is no official program like this. However, two teens started a “Teens Helping Seniors” program that offers no-contact grocery delivery. The idea came to the teens when they noticed how their grandparents were impacted by the spread of COVID-19. The service has seen around 60 other teenagers join to become volunteers. Learn more here.

DC does not have a program similar to this in place, but you can access their food resources for seniors here.

Hope this is helpful,


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About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.

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