Lakeland Gives Back… as we head towards ThanksGIVING and Christmas, we are highlighting local organizations making a difference in our community that need volunteers and/or donations at the holidays and year round. We hope you’ll learn more about these groups and decide to be part of LAKELAND GIVES BACK! Imagine the impact we can make locally if each one of us donates just a few extra items or a few hours of time this holiday season. 

About Volunteers in Service to the Elderly (VISTE)

Volunteers in Service to the Elderly (VISTE) is a community-based, non-profit organization serving Lakeland, Bartow, Mulberry and Ft. Meade. Established in 1983, the primary goal of VISTE is to enable frail elderly persons to continue living independently and safely in their own home. People are living longer and are often financially unprepared to do so.

This year VISTE will serve over 4,200 clients!  Transportation, monthly commodity boxes, hot meals, and installation of wheelchair ramps are just a few of the programs carried out by VISTE volunteers that help preserve their clients’ dignity.

VISTE Volunteers

VISTE is a volunteer-driven organization that is successful because of the schools, churches, civic groups, local corporations, and individuals that volunteer their time and provide necessary supplies. Though a small VISTE staff oversees the program, dedicated volunteers perform the majority of the work. There’s always something happening at VISTE, and their elderly clients need you! Whether you’re looking for a one-time volunteer opportunity, are interested in donating items, or want to be involved on a regular basis, VISTE has a way for you to be involved.

  • VOLUNTEER – Annual Thanksgiving Meal Delivery on Wed. November 21
  • BAKE & DONATE – Thanksgiving Bread / Dessert before Fri. November 16
  • DONATE – Personal Care Items & Non-Perishable Food Items
  • VOLUNTEER – Ongoing Volunteer Opportunities for Families

VOLUNTEER – Annual Thanksgiving Meal Delivery

Join VISTE for the 22st Annual Thanksgiving Meal Delivery event! This year, volunteers will be needed to deliver 1,800 meals to our local seniors – a record number! Many of these clients may otherwise spend the holiday alone, or would not prepare a meal for themselves.

When: Wednesday, November 21 beginning at 3pm
Where: The RP Funding Center, 701 W. Lime St., Lakeland, FL 33805 – go to Entrance #2 on the NW side of the building.
Who: Anyone with a vehicle who can spend the afternoon delivering meals to a few clients and spend time visiting with them. Children are welcomed and encouraged.
Details: We will give you some meals and addresses to the client’s homes and you’re on your way! No registration is needed. Anyone interested in volunteering to deliver Thanksgiving meals should simply arrive at The RP Funding Center at 3pm on Wed. Nov 21.
Questions: Facebook event page or contact Ashley at VISTE at 863.284.0828 x6.

Viste Thanksgiving Meal Deliveries Lakeland

VOLUNTEER – Advance Prep for Thanksgiving Meal Delivery

Advance preparation is needed to make the meal delivery a success AND add a special touch for each of the 1,800 seniors being served.

Help is needed to decorate placemats and create cards and crafts. Contact Ashley at 863.284.0828 x6 or email to reserve your placemats and arrange a pick up time.

Snap Green Beans – Monday, November 19 at 10am
Get hands on with the meal preparation! Help snap green beans on Monday, November 19 at 10am in Room A at First Presbyterian Church on Lake Hollingsworth. All ages are welcome, kids 13 and under must be with an adult. RSVP by November 16 – 863.284.0828 x6 or email

Viste Thanksgiving Meal Deliveries Lakeland

BAKE & DONATE – Thanksgiving Bread / Dessert

VISTE is in need of homemade breads – pumpkin, apple, spice, etc. – to give to clients along with their Thanksgiving meal. Having a nice homemade goody will brighten their day!

What to do: First, click here to sign up so VISTE can plan accordingly.

Then get to baking! Please make individual servings – muffins or mini loaves work well, or you can make a regular size loaf and slice it into thick slices when it cools. For each individual portion, wrap it in plastic wrap. (Optional: Tie a pretty ribbon on it!) Fill a gallon freezer bag with as many servings as fit without squishing the breads. Label the bag with the flavor and date. Freeze the entire bag. Then bring the bag to VISTE (1232 E. Magnolia Street, Lakeland 33801) anytime Monday-Friday, 8am-4pm, before Friday, November 16. VISTE is hoping to get enough so that each of the 1,800 meals can include this homemade treat.

DONATE – Personal Care Items & Non-Perishable Food Items

In addition to providing hot meals two days a week, VISTE also provides over 1500 clients with a supplemental box of groceries each month and needs non-perishable food donations to keep the boxes filled through the holidays as well as year-round!

  • Canned Tuna
  • Canned Chicken
  • Peanut Butter
  • Cereal
  • Beans
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Oatmeal
  • Instant potatoes
  • Stuffing
  • Canned goods
  • Beans
  • Soups

VISTE also distributes over 800 boxes of personal care items each June and December to clients who struggle to afford these on their own. They have a year-round need for donations of the personal care items listed below:

  • Cotton Balls
  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste
  • Body Powder
  • Deodorant
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Alcohol
  • Q-Tips
  • Band-aids
  • First Aid Cream
  • Skin Care Lotion
  • Comb & Brush Set
  • Shaving Cream & Razors
  • Mouth Wash
  • Toilet Bowl Cleaner
  • Tub & Tile Cleaners
  • Kitchen Cleaner
  • Dish Detergent
  • Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Bar Soap
  • Toilet Paper (4-pack)
  • Paper Towels (single wrapped rolls)

All donations can be dropped off at VISTE’s office Monday-Friday, 8am-4pm, located at 1232 E Magnolia St, Lakeland, FL 33801 (GET DIRECTIONS).

VOLUNTEER – Ongoing Volunteer Opportunities for Families

Decorate birthday bags
VISTE delivers gifts (and cakes) to clients who are turning 90 or older.  VISTE would love to have kids decorate the gift bags, which can be picked up at VISTE’s office, located at 1232 E Magnolia St, Lakeland, FL 33801 (GET DIRECTIONS) and dropped off when finished. These can be decorated any way you like!

Bake birthday cakes
Along with those birthday gifts, VISTE sends out cakes!  They need volunteers to bake 8-9” round layer cakes.  Each layer needs to be frozen in a gallon freezer bag, labeled with the flavor and date, and dropped off at VISTE.  A team of volunteers will decorate and deliver the cakes!

Deliver groceries once a month
The Boxed Grocery program provides a monthly supplement to over 1,500 households each month.  Grocery boxes containing food, dry good, and other basics are delivered to clients who are unable to pick up their own food.  We look for volunteers to deliver a box of groceries to clients. This happens one day a month (your choice) between 8am and noon, Monday-Saturday. This is typically during the third full week of the month.

Deliver Hot Meals to clients in need
This happens on Tuesday and Thursday mornings each week, year round.

Click here to learn more about becoming a VISTE Volunteer!

To learn more about VISTE:

Visit their Facebook page
Call (863) 284-0828 or Email

See ALL of our Lakeland Gives Back posts at the link below. Interested in having your non-profit featured in one of our Lakeland Gives Back posts? Contact us for details.

Lakeland Volunteer Opportunities Christmas Donations