Volunteers in Service to the Elderly (VISTE) is a community-based, non-profit organization serving Lakeland, Bartow, Mulberry and Ft. Meade. Established in 1983, the primary goal of VISTE is to enable frail elderly persons to continue living independently and safely in their own home.
VISTE is a volunteer-driven organization that is successful because of the schools, churches, civic groups, local corporations, and individuals that help us. Though a small VISTE staff oversees program services offered to our clients, our dedicated volunteers perform the majority of the work.
Assisting the Elderly
The frail elderly are the fastest growing age group in the U.S.A. People are living longer and are often financially unprepared to do so. On a fixed income, we provide the elderly with food and other resources. VISTE is here to help.
VISTE receives funds from the United Way of Central Florida, the City of Lakeland, the City of Bartow, the Community Foundation of Greater Lakeland, through individuals, businesses, and various foundations.
VISTE is a United Way agency that began operations in 1983. The first 14 volunteers helped about four dozen senior citizens by providing transportation assistance, taking these early clients to church, grocery shopping, doctor appointments, the bank, and barber/beauty shops. Current services still include assisted transportation. However, VISTE program services have broadened significantly since that modest start.
History of Serving
VISTE drivers make over 900 trips each month, taking clients to medical appointments and on other errands.
The Commodities program provides a monthly supplement to over 1,500 households each month.
Hot Meals are delivered two times each week to 200 clients unable to cook for themselves.
VISTE makes minor home repairs for clients who lack the means to do so themselves.
Light housekeeping is provided to seniors who need a little assistance maintaining their homes.
Caregiver respite is provided when a client requires 24/7 care.
Bathing assistance is provided for frail clients whose physical condition makes it risky to bathe without help.
Lifeline monitoring is provided to clients who live alone and are at heightened risk from disease or physical frailty.
Birthdays are acknowledged for nearly 300 VISTE clients each month. VISTE acknowledges everyone’s birthday and provides cakes and balloons for those celebrating 90 years or more.
VISTE delivered 1,300 Thanksgiving dinners in 2012.
Emergency financial assistance is also available to VISTE clients. VISTE provides one-time help with electric utility and prescription expenses.
VISTE also provides an assortment of medical equipment to clients who cannot afford them. These include walkers, canes, wheelchairs, hoyer lifts, and hospital beds.
VISTE continues to broaden services to enhance the quality of life for the frail elderly served. Plans are underway to expand the Hot Meals program, adding more delivery days.
VISTE began with a handful of drivers who took clients wherever they needed to go. Transportation is still a core part of VISTE's services. VISTE drives clients to medical offices, grocery stores, beauty salons, and barber shops. The places you and I go without thinking about it!
VISTE provides a grocery supplement of food to approximately 1,500 households each month. Volunteers pack individual commodity bags, and distribute the food to clients.
Personal Care Boxes
VISTE provides clients boxes of personal and household care items during two special projects each year. Individuals in the community, schools, churches and civic groups donate the items. Volunteers pack and deliver personal care boxes to over 900 clients yearly.
VISTE delivers freshly made hot food to homebound clients each Tuesday and Thursday. Volunteers currently deliver an average of 1,200 meals each month!
VISTE volunteers are needed to deliver 1,300 Thanksgiving dinners to clients and their families. Corporate sponsors, local groups and individual volunteers too numerous to count, ensure that clients enjoyed freshly prepared turkey dinners complete with all the fixings.
VISTE remembers client birthdays each month. VISTE sends birthday cards to nearly 4,000 clients. Additionally, clients celebrating their 90th (or later) birthday receive a special visit from singing VISTE volunteers who deliver a cake and balloons to honor a client’s special day.
Volunteers are the cornerstone of VISTE’s services. We could not successfully fulfill our mission without our wonderful and dedicated volunteers.
How To Get Started
Becoming a volunteer at VISTE is simple: attend one of our monthly Volunteer Orientations, and our Volunteer Coordinator will find the best fit for you. We’ll start with an overview of our many programs, a tour of our facilities, and then we’ll discuss volunteer opportunities.
There’s always something happening at VISTE, and our elderly clients need you! Your time will be put to good use whether you are a student, retired person, group, organization, club, or an individual with talents to share. We welcome new ideas and have been known to implement project ideas brought to the table by our own volunteers. Contact us today to get started!
Welcome to VISTE’s Media Center; we look forward to working with your media outlets. VISTE is made possible by volunteers who run the program. We rely on the media to spread the word about our cause and encourage more volunteers. If your story requires a particular area of interest, we will be happy to work with you and arrange interviews with staff, clients, and volunteers.