When Santa Barbara high schooler Daniel Goldberg left his campus to learn at home after stay-at-home orders were issued, he sought a way to help during the pandemic.
"My dad is a doctor in the ER, and I would see him put himself out there on the front lines to try and help others. That inspired me to sit down and think, what is there that I can do to help in a way that my dad is helping?" Goldberg said.
Noting the lack of food delivery services available in Santa Barbara for high-risk individuals, the San Marcos High School junior conceived an idea to connect individuals with local grocers, allowing them to order fresh, healthy food online delivered by Generation Z volunteers.
Goldberg estimated Zoomers to Boomers would facilitate a couple of deliveries a week to meet the need. Instead, Zoomers to Boomers is making up to 300 deliveries a week and his nonprofit is attracting young volunteers across the country, leading to the addition of branches in over 20 cities.
Initial attempts to connect with stores including Vons, Trader Joe's and Ralphs led to dead ends, but then local grocer Gladden and Sons Produce reached out after hearing about Goldberg's program, eager to assist.
"I started making phone calls to all the stores in town and tried to expand to them. From there, we started to grow exponentially," Goldberg said.
As deliveries increased in Santa Barbara, young volunteers in other cities began reaching out to establish their own services, including one of Goldberg's friends in Denver, Colorado.
"That [first inquiry] came through a friend of mine who heard what I was doing who wanted to do the same thing there. So I got on the phone with her and helped her through the process," Goldberg said. "Then I started getting emails from people I had never met before, wanting to do this."
Since Goldberg established Zoomers to Boomers in March, branches have been created in Miami, Salt Lake City, Honolulu and along the East Coast in Michigan and Connecticut, as well as throughout California.
Goldberg and his team now are putting in up to 12 hours a day, seven days a week, to manage deliveries and work with branch leaders nationwide.
Despite the work, Goldberg said his goal is to continue expanding the nonprofit, and to eventually implement a system providing free groceries to those unable to pay.
He also would like to help establish a branch of Zoomers to Boomers in northern Santa Barbara County once he finds individuals eager to take on the task.
"Ideally, if I can get a couple people from North County who want to spend most of their time running a volunteer delivery service, I could help them get it up and running," he said.