Welcome to Avoca

(Avoca) -- Avoca officials are taking additional steps in case the coronavirus crisis gets deeper.

Avoca Police Chief Michael Porter held a public meeting outside the city's fire station Monday morning to assemble a list of volunteers to aid citizens in case the state of Iowa declares a shelter-in situation--similar to what is in place in many U.S. cities and states to thwart the rapid COVID-19 spread. While no such edict was in place in Iowa as of Monday afternoon, Porter says he wanted the community to be prepared.

"Nothing has changed," said Porter. "As of Monday the 23rd (of March), we're still doing the same thing we did yesterday, and the day before. Be vigilant about what we do--washing our hands, social distancing, all that kind of stuff. Don't go home and cause panic amongst your family and friends since we had a meeting to discuss things. This meeting is about getting a plan devised in case something comes up."

In addition, Porter met with officials at Avoca's Foodland stores to assist elderly residents unable to leave their houses due to quarantining.

"If an elderly person, or person in need can't get out, and get their groceries," he said, "all they have to do is call Foodland with a list. They'll put the groceries together. They'll tell you how much it is. You can either give them your card number, or we can swing by a get a check from you. They'll get it all packaged up for you, and I'll deliver it to the house."

If he can't deliver the groceries, Porter says a volunteer will be contacted for assistance. Porter says assembling a volunteer's list is a lesson learned from last year's flooding.

"Not only are we dealing with the virus for these volunteers," said Porter, "but, I could have used this last year in the flood. I should have implemented this in the flood. Instead of making 30 calls around, now all I have to do is make one, and say, 'we're sandbagging at the high school' during a flood. Now that we're at the virus stage, we're talking about the virus."

Porter says the meeting was held outside in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Anyone wishing to be added to the volunteer list should contact Avoca City Hall at 712-343-2424. A video of Porter's presentation is available on Youtube.