A Call to Service: KATS Grocery Delivery
“Compassionate, Respectful, Dependable” are the core values on which KATS Grocery Delivery operates as a part of its mission to “make our clients life easier by delivering exceptional service.” The idea for the Birmingham based business grew out of a need KATS owner Maurice Mercer first witnessed after his mother was diagnosed with Scleroderma, an autoimmune disability that limited her ability to do even the most normal of day to day activities, including her own grocery shopping. While Mercer lived close enough and was able to shop for his mom, the former UAB charge nurse began to think of those who did not have the support she did.
“Even In her sickness,” remembers Mercer, “She was thinking about others. How can we help others?” The two discussed the start of a grocery delivery service with the option for delivery from multiple stores. “The Lord kept putting on my heart you need to do this,” remembers Mercer whose mother, Kathryn Jenkins, affectionately known as Kats, passed away in November of 2013. In late 2014, in his mother’s memory, Mercer created Karing, Agape and Transitional Services Inc., or KATs Inc. “We incorporated in August of 2014, tested deliveries in the fall and hit the ground running in January 2015,” remembers Mercer whose company now serves customers throughout the Birmingham metro area who call, email or text to request service.
Mercer says it is particularly rewarding to see how KATS allows others to serve. “I have had a group of ladies living out of town purchase delivery for six months for friend with cancer and Sunday school classes purchasing a few months of service for families in need. People want to do something that is tangible and can help.”
KATS is also giving Mercer the opportunity to serve the underserved. “In these 18 months, I realized that not everyone was like my mom and could afford the service. That really got me down.” Mercer began conversations with the local nonprofit Many Infinities (MI) that serves area families battling autoimmunity and autoimmune disease. Mercer worked with MI to apply for and receive a grant to participate in a nationwide pilot designed to improve access to groceries for homebound elderly and disabled persons participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). MI is one of five selected by the USDA to participate and this month KATS will begin shopping for and delivering free of charge SNAP approved items to the elderly and disabled throughout Jefferson and Shelby Counties. MI and KATS hope to expand the service to surrounding counties in the coming months. “We found a gap in seniors and the disabled who need delivery and being able to afford delivery. This grant will help that void.” To learn more about this program visit www.manyinfinities.org or contact KATS at www.thekatsinc.com, 624-0777.