Smyrna police deliver food and medicine to seniors

Smyrna police headquarters in article about methamphetamine bustSmyrna Police headquarters (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)

Smyrna Police have taken it upon themselves not only to serve and protect, but to deliver as well.

Responding to COVID-19 shelter in place mandates, the department kicked off an unusual program Wednesday under which Community Relations Unit officers will deliver groceries and/or medicine to seniors who have placed and paid for orders from one of a number of local groceries and drug stores,. The program is open to those aged 62 and older as well as residents with an underlying hardship.

Police spokesman Sgt. Louis Defense said that although officers won’t fork over money for the food, they’ll deliver it free of charge, will make sure they don’t touch the groceries and will call when they’re on the way. They’ll leave the items at the door as well.

“We don’t want to have people getting out, since we’re already obligated to be out,” said Defense. “This is a way to help vulnerable seniors and keep people out of the streets and the stores.” He added that it would not detract from regular police patrols.

He said a handful of those eligible have been served so far but the number is expected to grow.

In a separate program, the city is handing out $100 Publix or Kroger gift cards to needy families. Defense said those applying under the program must be residents and should demonstrate evidence of need. Officers are handing out the cards.

The money is coming from a grocery assistance fund which started after a citizen’s donation a few weeks ago and has swelled to more than $50,000, said Defense.

“This is not normally a part of my job,“ said the public information officer, “but things are not normal with this crisis.”

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