Personal shoppers provide a helping hand to vets in Lakehurst, Florida

Personal shopper
Photo credit Air Force Airmen 1st Class Azaria Foster
By Air Force Airmen 1st Class Azaria Foster

Due to COVID-19 restrictions limiting base accessibility, Naval Support Activity Lakehurst has implemented a personal shopper program to supply veterans and their families with groceries during the pandemic. 

''The personal shopper program [was created] because we limited the [base] to essential personnel only,'' said Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Victor Lambert, NSA Lakehurst Personal Shopper Program volunteer. ''We take time out to help the veterans who aren't allowed to come on base and do their grocery shopping for them. It helps limit veterans' exposure to COVID-19 and provides them with cheaper prices for goods.'' 

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Over the last six months, the program has aided more than 320 patrons with more than $33,000 in goods from the Lakehurst Navy Exchange and Naval Air Engineering Station Commissary.

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 ''It feels great to know that we are not only helping people who can't get to the base to do their grocery shopping, but also helping the commissary make their stock turn,'' Lambert said. ''When the pandemic happened their profits had declined.''

The program is available to anyone who has a dependent or retiree ID as well as Navy members who have special dietary needs while on quarantine.

''I would like to thank you and your troops for helping retirees during this restrictive time of COVID-19,'' said Edward Ellis, a Personal Shopper Program user. ''Your dedication to this mission should not go unrecognized or forgotten. Many retirees appreciate your efforts and caring about us. We thank you and are proud to see that the foundation of the military community still stands strong because of men and women like you.''

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