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On the beat: Older St. Peters man’s plight to find toilet paper prompts outpouring of help

On the beat: Older St. Peters man’s plight to find toilet paper prompts outpouring of help

From the Celebrate good: Stories of St. Louisans coming together, offering hope series
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For Wednesday’s paper, I wrote a story about a 78-year-old man with serious underlying health issues who was struggling to find toilet paper for him and his wife, also an at-risk senior citizen

Most everyone knows by now, that the coronavirus is not too kind to those over the age of 60 with chronic respiratory, heart and other conditions.

And toilet paper, along with hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes, are flying off the shelves as soon as they are stocked.

Steve Wilson, of St. Peters, has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, suffered two bouts with cancer and uses a service dog. He should not be roaming through stores looking for toilet paper.

Wilson contacted my editor at the Post-Dispatch after calling grocery stores to ask if they could set aside some rolls for people like him and getting nowhere. I called Wilson — along with Dierbergs and Schnucks.

The grocery chains’ representatives said all they can do is set aside an hour for the elderly to shop and limit the number of rolls people can buy. Managing special requests was not feasible.

The story about Wilson’s plight prompted dozens of calls, emails and comments on Facebook of people wanting to help the couple. The response has been heartwarming, at a time when most readers could use some good news.

Rest assured, Wilson now has toilet paper. As he wrote: “The power of the pen is astonishing.”

Many of you were wondering, so here are his text messages to me:

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