Forming a life-long friendship at the grocery store

Just two years ago, Brittny McGraw began her search to find a meaningful, flexible volunteer opportunity. That’s when she saw a flier for United Way’s Open Your Heart to a Senior (OYHS) initiative.

“I thought it would be something I’d be interesting in doing,” she said. “After going through the orientation, I realized there really aren’t very many barriers to this.”

When she started, Brittny helped seniors residing in the North Hills run errands, such as getting to and from the doctor’s office or picking up prescriptions. Soon after, she found a request from a local older woman on OYHS’s online scheduler for a weekly grocery shopper.

That’s how Brittny met Ms. Anna, and the two became inseparable, creating a strong friendship and a bond. Brittny picked up Ms. Anna once a week, and the two headed out to the grocery store, where Ms. Anna got all of her favorite magazines, and Brittny helped Ms. Anna stay on budget.

“I followed behind her and removed items from her cart that she doesn’t need,” Brittny said with a laugh. “I learned so much from Ms. Anna, and we were always laughing and having a good time together.”

On weeks Ms. Anna didn’t need groceries, Brittny still enjoyed stopping by to spend a little time with Ms. Anna and made sure she had her weekly magazines and puzzles.

Brittny encourages other community members to get involved. “If you have the time and you’re able to, for two to three hours a week, you can make a big difference for someone,” Brittny said.

Ms. Anna passed away on August 26, 2017. As Brittny says in a Facebook post commemorating Ms. Anna, she will always cherish the time they got to spend together.

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