Working from home Thursday afternoon, Leanne Cook popped her head outside her front door every so often to check and see what was on her front porch.

Earlier in the day she had posted to social media that she wanted to collect toiletries and other items for the needy or homeless during this time of crisis. Rome residents responded by simply driving by and dropping off all sorts of products on her front porch.

“I work in healthcare so I’m constantly thinking about those workers and how we can help alleviate some of the burdens on them,” she said. “I know there are lots of people out there who simply can’t go out and purchase these items so I wanted to try to collect some and take it to them.”

After she posted her thoughts to social media, donations started coming in. In just a couple hours her front porch was covered in blankets, soaps, toothpaste, bandaids, feminine products, prepackaged food items and socks.

“I’m always amazed at the generosity and kindness of the people of Rome,” she said. “Even at a time when many people are worried about their own families, folks here still find the a way to help others they don’t even know.”

Thursday afternoon saw Leanne, Joe and Ramsey Cook loading boxes and containers of donated items into a truck to be delivered to Swerve and Hospitality House — both of which had expressed the need for those particular items. She said she would keep asking other organizations what specific needs they had.

Joe said he knows people in Rome want to help but may not know the best way to do that and he hoped there was a way for social services to direct ordinary citizens on the best ways to help others in the community.

“There are homeless people and senior citizens who can’t get out and don’t have families to help them get these needed items,” he said.

Leanne said her recent participation in the Homeless Count opened her eyes to the great need in the community, particularly during a time of crisis.

“There are people all around us who are in desperate need of items that many of us take for granted,” she said. “I’m just trying to do my part to help.”

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