Community donations and county government staff are ensuring no Cobb senior has to risk their health for food during the coronavirus pandemic, with regular drive-thru produce giveaways being staged for those 60 and older.
The county started dishing out packaged food and other basic household items to seniors when Gov. Brian Kemp imposed a shelter-in-place order at the start of April.
To date, over 500 Cobb seniors have received grocery donations through the initiative’s first five drive-thru events, held at Cobb Senior Services on Powder Springs Road in southwest Marietta.
Seniors line up outside the building in their cars and are ushered through without having to leave their vehicles, said AikWah Leow, communications manager for Cobb County.
“We try to make it as easy and safe as possible,” Leow told the MDJ on May 14, when the latest grocery giveaway was held, attracting 150 local seniors. “We don’t require them to get out of the car, we check their ID to make sure they qualify, and ask them to either unlock their car or pop their trunk so staff can place the food inside.”
Leow said initially the county asked seniors to register for a food parcel before picking it up, and around 75 seniors were served in this way at each of the first three handout events, but now anyone can drive in and receive food, as long as they meet the criteria.
“If you are aged 60 or above and a Cobb resident, and as long as you are in line, you can receive a box that has shelf-stable items, fresh food items and a meal plan,” Leow said, adding other donated items such as toiletries and hard-to-find paper products have also been handed out, as have hot meals provided by local eateries through Operation Meal Plan.
The initiative has been growing in popularity, she said, with over 300 seniors benefiting from the last two events and many residents making personal food donations for the cause.
“Last week (seniors) started lining up in the parking lot a little after 10 a.m. (food giveaway starts around noon), and they were lined up all the way to the movie theater,” she said. “We serve them really quickly, with staff from the tax assessor’s office and senior services helping.”
Leow said Cobb’s seniors are receiving targeted assistance because they are more susceptible to the risks of COVID-19 and still encouraged by the governor to shelter in place whenever possible.
“Some seniors are not able to venture out and about and some have underlying health conditions and don’t want to go out,” she said.
The county is still taking donations of pantry items and paper goods for this program and lists acceptable items on its website, as well as contact details for those wanting to give.
The county reports there are over 100,000 senior citizens in Cobb, and other services and events are planned to help them during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.
“The Senior Citizen Council is seeking financial contributions from the community to address coronavirus related issues of older residents,” Cobb Chairman Mike Boyce stated in his latest newsletter to constituents. “Contributions will be used to fulfill pressing living condition needs of afflicted seniors and also to provide funding for a planned Senior Job Fair which will assist individuals who are unemployed or underemployed because of COVID-19.”
The Senior Citizen Council has also developed a “Coronavirus Care” survey, which it is distributing to the Cobb senior community for use as a guide in its advocacy efforts, Boyce’s newsletter stated.
All persons age 55 and older are invited to complete the survey, which has already been done by more than 200 local seniors, the newsletter said.
To complete the survey visit:
To donate to the Senior Citizen Council visit:
For more information about the senior food giveaways visit: