Student’s side project grows into national movement to grocery shop for the elderly

Chicago News

ORLAND PARK, Ill. — Only a week after Michael Arundel returned home from college, a message changed his summer plans: an elderly family member was worried it was too risky to go shopping for groceries.

“That just pulled on my heartstrings more than anything,” Arundel said. “That someone her age has to worry about going to the grocery store.” 

That became the first shopping list of what would soon multiply into hundreds.

“I was like, ‘you know, I have the time on my hands; when I get home I’ll shop for you and your friends,” Arundel said. “I have a great group of friends that probably would get the same amount of joy of doing it with me.”

Arundel put a call out on Facebook for volunteers. He said within three days he had 40,000 views and people calling in from “everywhere.” Just one month later, Arundel has over 400 volunteers with 35 chapters of his organization “Leave It To Us”  all over the country. 

He said they’ve done over 1,000 orders nationwide. A brigade of fee free shopping volunteers take orders from their laptops before loading each item into a cart.

“To see that there’s seniors out there and immunity-compromised people out there that have nowhere to turn to do this for them… it has been a delight to do and be that person and that organization for these people to turn to,” Arundel said.

Arundel said he hopes to inspire more people to create their own brigade of volunteers in their communities. 

“It’s been amazing to see people out there that have the same mission as I do,” Arundel said.

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