Heroes of 2020
Newspaper deliveryman Greg Dailey unloading the car on May 29. Dailey began a grocery drop-off service in mid-March to anyone in need along his paper route, which has since supplied more than 140 homes in Mercer County, N.J.
Courtesy Greg Dailey
December 10, 2020 10:33 PM EST

In mid-March, terrified of catching COVID-19, Phyllis Ross, 88, asked her newspaper deliveryman if he’d throw the paper closer to her West Windsor, N.J., home. Greg Dailey, was happy to oblige.

Days later, Ross’s predicament was still on Dailey’s mind. If Ross couldn’t make it to the sidewalk, how could she possibly buy food? So he called to ask: Did she need anything from the grocery store? Ross jumped at the chance—and asked if he wouldn’t mind also getting food for her neighbor.

The request inspired Dailey to think of a new delivery service. The following Saturday, he left a note in the newspapers for all 800 houses on his route, offering to drop off goods to anyone in need—free of charge. He hadn’t even made it home before the calls started rolling in.

Initially overwhelmed, Dailey quickly got to work with the help of his family. They were soon spending 12 hours a day delivering food to senior citizens in need. The family has since supplied more than 140 homes and conducted more than 1,000 grocery runs in the Mercer County area—and they’re still going. “Other than raising my three kids, it’s been the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done,” Dailey says.

Write to Madeleine Carlisle at madeleine.carlisle@time.com.

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