Shamong resident’s grocery delivery initiative gains support and requests for help

Seeing a story of an elderly woman ask a stranger to buy her groceries, has led Renee Bierly to start her own initiative for those needing it most.

Renee Bierly receives a list, checks it twice and is off to the aisles of a supermarket — backed by a team of volunteers.

At home like many others during the COVID-19 pandemic, tending to her kids and horse farm, Bierly was inspired to deliver groceries to people in the high-risk population.

“I saw a story on the news where a woman walked through a parking lot, and an elderly lady rolled her window down and she handed her (the woman) a $100 bill and asked for her to shop for her,” the Shamong resident explained.

“It brought me to tears because it was something we could get people doing everywhere.”

Bierly has been working from home, teaching her eighth grade students at Berlin Community School in Berlin Borough. Her children, Stephen and Allison, are taking classes remotely from Stockton University and Seneca High School, respectively.

Bierly decided to offer grocery delivery to residents of both Shamong and Berlin.

“I threw it out there to see if anybody had a need,” she said. “I was surprised to see that there were more people who wanted to volunteer and do it all, which is great.”

Seeing replies and private messages from her post warmed Bierly’s heart as more people sought ways to help. But she wants more requests from high-risk seniors and those who are immuno-compromised and who may be without Facebook or internet capability, or the ability to access the private groups where she is a member.

Contact has been established with churches and Shamong’s Office of Emergency Management Coordinator John Lyons to locate more of that population.

Bierly’s daughter Allison has helped spread the word to younger people about the delivery service via social media.

“My daughter is on Snapchat and Instagram and I asked her to put it out there, and within an hour, she had 10 people and their moms ready to help us,” Bierly said. “They were ready to jump on board and help them.

“They (Allison’s friends) have their own cars to run to the grocery store to help us.”

Need assistance with groceries? Lyons is Bierly’s point of contact for those in need. He can be reached by calling (609) 618-2091 or emailing ShamongOEM@gmail.com.

“It’s nice to see that so many people were ready to help,” Bierly noted. “We’re here if anybody has a need, and we have a little crew that’s ready to help when called upon.”