Rogers Park senior struggles to get groceries amid COVID-19 crisis

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Getting groceries and essential items can be a challenge for some during this pandemic. And if they can't go to the store themselves, delivery is not often as easy as it seems.

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With arthritis in both knees, Carmen Castro, 76, struggles to climb the five flights of stairs to her front door. She said she's been making that trek for months with her Rogers Park building elevator busted.

"I do so many steps and then I stop," Castro said. 'And then I continue and then I stop."

The climb is proving to be even more of a challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Castro is a senior at higher risk of coronavirus complications, so she turned to grocery delivery to avoid going outside. But on the phone with Amazon Prime's Whole Foods service, she learned that wouldn't be possible.

"They said they would deliver the groceries to the lobby, they will not carry them up five flights," she said.

"I'm really concerned something's going to happen to her and I won't even know until I get home from work," said Jennifer Pikorz, her daughter.

Castro lives with her daughter, but Pikorz still goes in to work. She's busy with cybersecurity and IT at Rush University Medical Center, supporting the fight against COVID-19.

Pikorz said they've had delivery issues with Uber Eats, too, so that's no good during a work day.

The city of Chicago said it can help with that kind of problem and recommends residents call 311.

Chicago is partnering with organizations, including the Salvation Army, that it says have already delivered more than 2 million meals in the last two weeks.

Mayor Lightfoot is calling on the federal government to allow SNAP benefits to be used for online shopping to make even more food accessible.

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