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Hundreds of Polk County seniors without transportation after nonprofit closes

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Posted at 7:02 PM, Aug 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-16 19:02:59-04

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — Volunteers in Service to the Elderly, also known as VISTE, is a nonprofit that offers various services to elderly residents in Polk County, from transportation to groceries.

Dr. Danny Tindall volunteers in VISTE’s warehouse.

“We get items, they’re donated. Everything from medicine to personal care items, to food, to can goods, all kinds of things and we sort those so they can later be distributed to elderly in their homes,” said Tindall.

The need for elderly services in Polk County has just become greater.

“We have received an influx of some additional calls from people asking for transportation assistance,” said Steve Bissonnette, President of VISTE.

This comes after ElderPoint Services announced it is shutting down following a major loss in revenue due to the pandemic. The nonprofit provided more than 400 senior citizens with free rides to essential appointments.

“ElderPoint was serving throughout the county and Polk County is a very large geographic area, actually larger than the state of Rhode Island. So it’s difficult for anyone to provide services on that scale,” said Bissonnette.

Because VISTE only serves the western part of the county, it has received a list of half of Elderpoint's former clients.

“We also have reached out to the mass transit authority Citrus Connection so that they can help,” Bissonnette said.

Citrus Connection has sent letters to former Elderpoint Services clients.