Volunteers in Service to the Elderly
Agency Serving the Elderly Significantly Low on Food
Increasing Demands Have More Than Doubled in the Past Decade
October 4, 2016
LAKELAND, Fla. (October 4, 2016) – The holidays are quickly approaching, and Volunteers in Service to the Elderly (VISTE) hopes that Christmas comes early this year. Donations are down, and demands are up. The growing number of elderly clients served by the agency who receive supplemental groceries each month, and the recent struggle to acquire food has created an urgent need for donations.
In 2008, approximately 600 households received food each month. Today, nearly 1,500 households are enrolled in the supplemental grocery program. Monetary donations are down, leaving the agency with less funds to purchase needed items at local food banks. Because of this, VISTE is forced to ration their food donations – a practice that is all too familiar for those clients who grew up during the Great Depression.
“We don’t want to have to decrease the amount of food we are able to distribute to our clients, but we need the community’s to keep this from happening,” said Steve Bissonnette, VISTE President. “Because we shop at local food banks, we can purchase items for pennies on the dollar, but we need additional funds to do that.”
VISTE is currently running a special online fundraising campaign called Serve a Senior that runs through October 10th to support programs like this one. Featured in the campaign are clients like James Russ, a senior who lives on a limited income, and has special dietary restrictions because of health issues. James relies on VISTE to provide monthly foodstuffs to supplement his meager purchases of eggs, milk, and the like. The box of food he receives helps ensure he has the proper nutrition he needs, and money to pay the bills at the end of the month. James’ story is currently featured in one of six short videos highlighting some of VISTE’s services to the elderly.
View James’ story here: https://vimeo.com/181689798
Those interested in helping through a donation may visit www.viste.org, or call 863-284-0828 for more information. Non-perishables like canned and dry goods may be dropped off at VISTE: 1232 E Magnolia St, Lakeland, FL 33801 any time, M-F between 8am and 4pm.
VISTE serves those 70 and older living in Lakeland, Bartow, Ft. Meade, and Mulberry. Founded in 1983 with 30 original clients, VISTE now serves close to 4,000 seniors with the help of hundreds of volunteers. VISTE provides transportation for those who can no longer drive, hot meals for those who cannot cook, supplemental groceries for those who cannot afford to purchase on their own, and a variety of additional services that help the frail elderly stay safely and independently in their own homes. For more information, visit viste.org.