GROVELAND, Fla. – Groveland city leaders are trying to ease their residents into a new normal built by the coronavirus pandemic, and their efforts include phone calls, free sanitizer and food.
It’s part of the city’s new initiative known as Operation Reach Out. The campaign is the overarching umbrella of smaller programs meant to support the community during the outbreak.
One of the programs offers free hand sanitizer. Anticipating a sanitizer shortage, the city had purchased 540 gallons of hand sanitizer to distribute throughout the community, according to a news release.
As part of the Safe Hands initiative, residents can bring their clean and empty hand sanitizer containers or water bottles to the Groveland Police Department trailer, where they can "swap a bottle, for a bottle,” organizers said. People can take a bottle and leave theirs behind Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. while supplies last.
“The turned-in bottles will be re-cleaned by the department and recirculated for the next batch,” Groveland Police Chief Shawn Ramsey said in a news release. “The City of Groveland is the City with Natural Charm. Therefore, it is only the natural thing to do, to take care of each other during such a time as this.”
Groveland officers will also visit local businesses that are experiencing a sanitizer shortage and donate a portion to them.
Citizen Check-In Line
Apart from making sure residents have clean hands, city leaders also created a way for residents to feel supported through what’s called a Citizen Check-In Line.
City employees call residents for welfare checks and take the time to provide some extra conversation. Residents can expect phone calls Monday through Friday between 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Those interested in receiving a phone call can contact the city at 352-557-5331. They can also use this number for any general city-related questions.
It's one bottle per household, but people can stop by each day to get another one.
“I’m so thankful to the police department here in Groveland that they’re willing to do this for the community,” resident Betsy Simons said.
Police officers are also donating portions of the sanitizer to local businesses.
“For us, it was so very important to connect,” Groveland communications manager Khrystyna Tremaine said. “Quoting our police chief that ‘We’re the City with Natural Charm.’ It was the charming thing to do, to be able to give back to our residents and that’s what we’d really like to promote. We wanted to let our residents know that we’re thinking about you. We’re here for you. We care for you.”
Ring and Response
Groveland city employees will also be keeping busy with the Ring and Response program. Since City Hall is closed, city leaders have invested in a Ring video doorbell at its entrance to assist residents who may stop by with questions. A city representative will be standing by live to answer questions via the video doorbell. This feature will be available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The city’s food-geared project is meant to assist residents who may be going through a tough time during the pandemic with ways to acquire meals.
City officials are collaborating with local restaurants, food trucks and farmers who are willing to deliver food to residents. As this initiative is still a work in progress, residents can expect a list of participating partners within a few days.
For more information on how the City of Groveland is committed to serving its residents, visit www.groveland-fl.gov.