Lakeland Area Chamber Foundation Gives Grant to VISTE

VISTE (Volunteers In Service To the Elderly) has been unanimously awarded a grant from the Lakeland Area Chamber Foundation for the organization’s Cakes for Caring program, according to Alice O’Reilly, VISTE President.

The 2015 grant is in the amount of $2,000 and will be used to purchase supplies to enhance the current birthday cake program.

A birthday cake decorated by a volunteer

A birthday cake decorated by a volunteer

“Each month, we provide birthday cakes to clients who are turning 90 years or age or older,” said Ashley Miller, Volunteer Coordinator. “We have teams of volunteers who bake the cakes, decorate them and then deliver them.”

Cakes are delivered with small goodie bags of items clients might find useful and enjoyable in celebrating their birthdays. Volunteers pack and decorate the goodie bags.

“One of the big things this grant will allow us to do is to purchase cake carriers for our volunteers to transport the cakes in as they drive to our clients’ homes,” Miller said. “This will be a huge benefit to our volunteers, and we are very grateful to the Chamber Foundation for allowing us this opportunity.”

Volunteer Linda Harrell leaving to deliver a cake.

Volunteer Linda Harrell leaving to deliver a cake.

The mission of VISTE is to enable the frail elderly to remain safely and independently in their own homes. While transportation and nutrition remain the largest components of the mission, VISTE looks to meet the needs of the whole person.

“Many of our clients are lacking that socialization component of life that is so vital,” Miller said. “Our Cakes for Caring program provides an element of socialization that some of these individuals are missing. Volunteers deliver the cakes and goodie bags, but they also take the time to sit and visit with the clients. They share a piece of cake and listen to stories of past birthdays.”

Anyone interested in assisting with VISTE’s Cakes for Caring program (by baking, decorating or delivering cakes) can contact Miller at 863.284.0828.

A group of volunteers celebrating client Bill Peck's birthday with him.

A group of volunteers celebrating client Bill Peck’s birthday with him.

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