For two months, Dr. Greg Castello has been sending care packages to his senior patients and paying for them out of his own pocket.
For two months, Dr. Greg Castello has been sending care packages to his senior patients and paying for them out of his own pocket.

For two months a Joliet family practice doctor has been sending care packages to his senior patients and paying for them out of his own pocket.

Dr. Greg Castello said he's supplied about 40 care packages a week over the last two months, at least 300, he said in an email.

Although Castello is happy to do it, he's found some challenges along the way.

"It has been difficult to find supplies that have been in short supply," Castello said in the email. "I go to multiple stores a week to get enough toilet paper, eggs and bread. I go to Costco and Walmart at least once a week, and GFS twice a week."

But it's not just toilet paper that's often difficult to acquire, he said.

"It's also difficult with things like bread and eggs," Castello said in the email. "I have to purchase frequently to be fresh. Things like canned chicken and toilet paper are easier, but aren't always available."

In addition to the struggles of finding all the items he needs, Castello said reactions from other shoppers are not always supportive.

"I have gotten dirty looks from shoppers, and rightfully so, [when] questioned by store managers when I have 30 loaves of bread in my cart," Castello said in the email.

On its website, the Illinois Department of Health said seniors age 65 and older have a higher risk of complications if they get sick with the virus that causes COVID-19.

To help minimize the risk to seniors, some stores even set special hours for seniors to shop.

Castello wanted to do his part, too.

"Ultimately, if I can save my seniors one trip to the grocery store, and one extra chance of getting sick, it is worth the effort," Castello said in the email. "I am younger and healthier than most of my patients,and am at a lesser risk if I get sick."

His patients are thankful and that's what count.

"Most of my patients have been very grateful, and a few have teared up," Castello said in a news release. "Some feel awkward about accepting them, and I tell them that if they think they know someone who is in greater need, they can pass it on to them."

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Will County