NewsPinellas County


Local program giving back to residents, caregivers of group homes and assisted living facilities

Posted at 4:43 PM, Jun 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-15 16:43:48-04

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — When you are living in a group home or assisted living facility all the days can blend together during a pandemic. There is an organization making sure these residents and their caregivers aren’t forgotten.

For Charlie, it appears like just another day during a pandemic, but what he doesn’t realize is that he and the staff at Isabella Group Home are about to get quite the surprise.

“When someone shows up and loves on you a little bit it feels good,” said Gary Hartfield, of Empower Florida.

During the pandemic, Empower Florida created the Big Giveback program, where they drop off donated food, gifts, treats and supplies to group homes and assisted living facilities.

“They are pretty closed off to the rest of the community, so we thought this was a great way to give back and to just show that we love you and we care,” said Hartfield.

Anna Cockerel has been a caregiver with the Isabella Group Home since they opened in 2009. She said it’s nice to be noticed.

“Oh my god we are so excited, we were just looking out through that window right there and we saw the cars, oh my god here they come,” said Cockerel.

Cockerel said with this group, something as simple as a donated pie, can bring so much joy.

“All of them love desserts, how he looked at that pie, it needs to be cut right there,” said Cockerel.

These caregivers understand local businesses are under their own stress, it means a lot that they still made room in their budgets and hearts to donate.

“Way to go, guys, way to go, keep doing what you are doing, you will make everybody happy,” said Cockerel.

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