It’s been a dizzying three weeks for Daniel Goldberg and the Zoomers to Boomers grocery shopping and delivery service he created to help South Coast seniors sheltered in place and other people isolated at home.
While Goldberg and his crew of fellow high school students were hustling to make deliveries, other cities throughout the country were contacting him, inquiring how they can join in.
“We currently have 10 (cities) on the website, with more coming,” he said. “We have a lot of interest nationwide. The rate-limiting step is us finding time to orient new groups while taking care of customers here in Santa Barbara.”
Denver was the first city to get on board and then came Malibu, Marin, and Los Angeles neighborhoods of Koreatown and Hancock Park, then Miami, Florida; Greenwich, Connecticut; Honolulu, Hawaii; Salt Lake City, Utah; Morris Town, New Jersey; and Cambridge, Massachusetts.
“The person in Denver is a friend of mine through athletics,” said Goldberg, a water polo player for San Marcos High School. “I was chatting to her about it, and she said she wanted to start a Zoomers to Boomers site.”
The other sites were started through friends in those cities and by people who learned of Goldberg’s community-caring business through social media.
“We were featured on Upworthy, which has over 2 million followers. Their post about us — based on the Noozhawk article — was shared over 3,000 times.
“I was even contacted by someone in Australia asking if we could start a Zoomers to Boomers there. I also get emails from the elderly throughout the country, asking if we have a site in their location to assist them.”
The concept of the business is a group of high schoolers—Generation Z, or Zoomers—helping members of the Baby Boomer generation in their community.
The website caught the attention of local attorney Josh Rabinowitz, who offered to represent Zoomers to Boomers pro bono.
“Right away, he was so supportive,” Goldberg said. “He felt like our idea was something that was not only needed during this pandemic but could be sustainable long-term.”
Rabinowitz contacted friend Rob Skinner, the CEO and general counsel of the Towbes Group, an investment, development and property management company. Skinner in turn put Goldberg in touch with Jackie Carrera, interim CEO, and Jessica Sanchez, director of donor relations, at the Santa Barbara Foundation.
“We are currently filling out paperwork so that, ultimately, Santa Barbara Foundation can function as our umbrella 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. This will help us accept donations, which will help us care for our community,” Goldberg said.
The enormous success of Zoomers to Boomers in the area prompted Goldberg to make some changes to streamline the operation.
“We have changed the way we make deliveries, so we can reach more people,” he said. “Initially, we accepted all specialized grocery orders and filled them at local grocery stores. When the requests increased, we realized how much of a need there was in Santa Barbara. The huge increase in demand created a situation where our volunteers ended up spending too much time in grocery stores.
“In an effort to help a lot of people, but still keeping our volunteers as safe as possible, we have decided to develop relationships with local vendors who offer organic/non-organic fruit, vegetables, meat/fish, dairy, milk, eggs, bread, etc., which people can order on a weekly basis.
“If clients order from these sites (accessed on our website) the orders and payments are collected by the vendors and our volunteers can focus on delivery. This way, our clients have access to fresh food, but we can decrease the number of times we go to grocery stores, hopefully limiting these visits for specialty and non-perishable items.”
Zoomers to Boomers have partnered with Gladden and Sons, Holdrens, The Berry Man, and Foodland.
“We would love to partner with more vendors in town, so that we can give our clients more choices,” Goldberg said.
The business has organized and expanded. There is an executive board of six, which includes Goldberg, and a staff that’s grown from 13 to about 45 volunteers. Everyone does the shopping and delivering.
Goldberg said all the tips the staff receives will be donated to clients who are in financial need and to local high school families who are struggling.
At San Marcos High School, there is a program called Royals Helping Royals, and a similar fund will be started at Santa Barbara High, where some of his volunteers attend.
Goldberg can’t believe how popular his creation has become.
“It’s literally crazy out here,” he said.