PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — Coping with isolation during the pandemic is especially challenging for many of our elderly friends and family.
Every morning for the past 15 months, Bill Jaroszek has been waking up early to sort and pack meals, and then deliver them to elderly residents in Pinellas County.
“When I was younger, I always enjoyed helping out elderly folks, and now that I’m getting up there, and I'm retired now I was actually looking for something to do to be useful,” Jaroszek explained.
Neighborly, a Pinellas nonprofit, uses volunteers like Bill, to distribute nearly 10,000 meals a week to seniors in need.
“They get to know your name and if you happen to not be on their route the previous week, they wonder what happened, where were you,” said Jaroszek.
The service is a human connection many elderly people have been missing during this pandemic.
"This in many cases may be the only human being the client sees in a 24-hour period,” said Hilary Douglass, Community Engagement Manager.
Neighborly delivers 2,500 of these meals a day. They just recently added 500 clients who were on the waiting list.
Now they're in need of an additional 200 volunteers.
“The demand for our service increased tremendously, especially in light of COVID. So many seniors are unable in many cases, to leave their homes,” Douglass explained.
If you want to help, apply here.
“It’s really rewarding. A small amount of time out of my day where I can make a difference,” said volunteer Anne Unger.