NewsPinellas County


Busy hospice needs upbeat volunteers and good cooks to help increasing number of at-home patients

Suncoast Hospice also needs dog-walkers
woman cooking for at-home hospice patients
Posted at 3:35 AM, Jan 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-30 06:38:59-05

PINELLAS PARK, Fla. — Sonia Hidalgo is a dream volunteer for Suncoast Hospice. She is young, upbeat and willing to find time in her busy schedule to help.

Jo Beth and Ed Wisner like Sonia a whole bunch, too.

The Pinellas Park couple celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary last year. They are now at-home patients under the care of Suncoast Hospice.

Every Tuesday, Sonia visits Jo Beth and Ed for three hours to make them a meal or two.

“At first I would just make one meal,” laughs Hidalgo. “But Jo Beth got hip to the fact that I’m fast, so now she breaks it into two.”

Sonia is a married mother of two who handles the books for her husband’s pool and paving company. She decided to volunteer after Suncoast Hospice helped her grieve the loss of her father.

“This is a special organization,” Hidalgo says. “I wanted to be a part of it.”

Suncoast Hospice is facing an increasing number of patients as the U.S. population grows larger and older. It wants more young optimistic volunteers just like Sonia.

“Sometimes with hospice there’s a stigma that it’s a place of resignation,” says Hidalgo.

Jo Beth appreciates Sonia’s spirit. And her cooking.

“She keeps me out of the kitchen, which I appreciate!” says Jo Beth. “The kitchen is not my favorite spot.”