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Local student leaders are expanding a successful grocery delivery service

Six Feet Supplies members Julianna Lozada and Eric Luo shop for groceries in Santa Clarita on Friday, April 24, 2020. Credit: Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG.

Six Feet Supplies, one of seven subprograms under the student-led Six Feet Solutions initiative, is undergoing leadership discussions about expansion after experiencing massive grocery delivery success in Santa Clarita.

Since their first delivery on March 24, the Six Feet Supplies website has totaled over 11,789 visits, 380 grocery delivery submissions, and $771 in community donations.

On April 29, Six Feet Supplies will launch the West LA branch as the first official branch outside Santa Clarita. Project leaders will then virtually meet to debate further expansion and report on earnings, deliveries, and outreach.

Carter Cote, web developer and one of ten project leaders for Six Feet Supplies, is optimistic about the organization’s expansion and its 45+ active members.

“We’re actually in contact with young leaders in Jakarta, Indonesia, in northern New Jersey and Santa Barbara, actually, who are all interested in starting their own six-feet branches,”

Six Feet Supplies Web Developer Carter Cote. Courtesy

Progress

The program originated after students witnessed hundreds of online testimonies explaining the new hurdles brought about by COVID-19. Guided by high school co-founders Zoe Monterola and Eric Luo, the parent initiative Six Feet Solutions now offers a variety of online resources that include therapy sessions, tutor Rolodexes, fitness workouts, grocery deliveries, and more.

Other students have since branched out into specialized programs leading to the inception and success of the subprogram Six Feet Supplies. Originally targeting at-risk consumers, Six feet Supplies is now reaching out to anyone who would like a free grocery delivery service. With over 200 consumers and $20,000 worth of groceries, the program is now financially stable.

“We kind of put our own money into it at first,” explains Cote. “once the orders flowed through and we gained traction, we were able to rely on tips and donations.”

Business Model

Consumers simply log on to the Six Feet Supplies website and choose a preferred delivery option in which gas and time are completely covered by the program. The volunteers, who are trained and guided by health officials, are then sent throughout the Santa Clarita Valley to shop for groceries, drop off the packages, and collect only the grocery reimbursements.

A photo of the Six Feet Supplies website homepage. Courtesy

Newhall Press Room, a local restaurant, has teamed up with Six Feet Supplies and extended the “Grocery Delivery +” option, offering resources typically low in supply at grocery stores. Group leaders are currently developing an emergency delivery option for toilet paper, hand sanitizers, hand soaps, cleaning wipes.

Caleb Kim, another project lead and active volunteer, explained that “right now we have a whole system and we get a lot more orders per day and a lot more expensive orders like I delivered things worth $663 yesterday.”

Criticism

Despite the praise, criticism is unavoidable with concerns about the safety of both the volunteers and the consumers. The program is exploding amidst news reports of COVID-19 protests and beachgoers.

“There are certain instances when people weren’t understanding why we were delivering during this so-called 2 week peak period” laments Kim. “Just because it’s the peak, it doesn’t mean people can’t get food or that people don’t need groceries to survive.”

The program is careful to comply with CDC guidelines and routinely screens its volunteers. Before actively helping, volunteers must attend an online training session that contains information sourced directly from health officials in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Six Feet Supplies Creative Director Min Ju Kim loads groceries on a route to a delivery. Courtesy

Praise

News channels such as CNN, KHTS, Newsweek, and SCV Signal have featured Six Feet Supplies with almost all project leaders actively engaging in interviews by the week.

Even 25th District House Congressional candidate Christy Smith chimed in on Twitter praising the group’s efforts.

With states opening businesses and the stock market rallying on Monday, Carter Cote remains optimistic that Santa Clarita will thrive, even if we are six feet apart.

“Our long term vision is that we replicate this model in communities all over the place. My hope is that this shows other young people that they can benefit their community through such a simple, yet helpful concept”

Six Feet Supplies Web Developer Carter Cote

One Facebook post reads “my heart – and our kitchen – are so full right now. With a brand-new baby, and Adam and I not yet 14 days out of the hospital, we really were hesitant to head to a busy store. I am so moved by their thoughtfulness to help keep their community safe.”

Inderjeet Gawra also contributed to this story.

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