KIRKWOOD, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — With all that’s going on with the COVID-19 pandemic and the shelter in place for seniors, organizers in Kirkwood decided to start an Adopt-A-Senior program.
“It came out of the need in our community to really create social solidarity within our neighborhood,” said Mindy Schweitzer-Rawls, a member of the Kirkwood Adopt-A-Senior Steering Committee who was joined by Brittany Eddy, who helped launch the program.
After the annual Kirkwood Spring Fling was cancelled, they said they decided to focus on that need for social solidarity.
Steering Committee members said they partner with numerous local organizations and businesses, like Evergreen Butcher + Baker, bagging up groceries and other goods for seniors and others in need.
“They are this community, and we want to embrace them,” Schweitzer-Rawls said. “We want to learn from them, and we want to respect them.”
They said they have about 50 volunteers and six drivers loading up the bags and making the deliveries, mostly on Saturdays.
“A lot of these seniors are home alone, so this is the only interaction, with the coronavirus going on right now, that a lot of them have,” said “Tiny Tim” Jackson, a volunteer and delivery driver.
“I drive through the neighborhood now, knowing the names of residents that I never would have had the opportunity to meet before,” said Serena Fitchard, a volunteer, local attorney and “Tiny Tim“ Jackson’s wife.
Local businesses like Poppa Corn’s are helping out as well.
“The neighborhood gives a lot to our business, and we love giving back to the Kirkwood neighborhood as well,” said Keith Forrester, a volunteer and owner of Poppa Corn’s.
Organizers said they have 25 seniors in the program right now, with more expected to join in the near future.
Volunteers said it’s just another excuse to stop by and check on folks like Joseph Randle and Emma Walker, a couple who has lived in the neighborhood for 14 years.
“It’s been wonderful, with all the people in the neighborhood stopping by giving us food, and you know, just to say ‘hi,’ making sure we’re ok,” said Randle.
“We appreciate everybody from this end, that end, that end, that end,” Walker said, pointing in every direction. “They all love us, and we love them.”
The delivery drivers stopped by Miss Alice Evans’s home, too. She’s lived there for 30 years.
“That’s wonderful for us, because it’s hard for us to be getting in and out and going to stores and shopping,” she said. “I couldn’t do it alone. I have to have help.”
They were already active before the pandemic, using thousands of donated dollars to also fix homes around the area, including Miss Alice’s, where they helped get her house up to code.
“The vision is, the hope is, for everybody to know their neighbors, and to know their needs and to be able to meet their needs as they know them, and to be able to have a relationship,” said Kirkwood Cares Committee Co-Chair Justin Schaeffer.
“It’s been really, really rewarding to see how much the seniors have been excited about seeing their packages coming in, and they have been so, so thankful for everything that’s been happening, and that’s so rewarding to see,” Forrester said.
“With everything that’s going on right now, it’s important to try to do good and make people feel nice about the world today,” said Tiny Tim.
It’s why they said they hope the buck doesn’t stop here, and they would like the donations to continue.