SAFETY HARBOR, Fla. (WFLA) – With temperatures soaring, there is an army of volunteers who are out and about daily checking on the health and welfaire of their elderly clients in Pinellas County. They are the Neighborly Care Network Meals on Wheels delivery drivers. But they are much more than drivers. They check on their seniors on a regular basis and get to know them.

Pat Donnelly makes weekly deliveries and has been doing so for about a year and a half. She says one of her clients recently refused to turn on her air conditioning, complaining that it was too expensive to operate.

“Like last week, she had her air off but her windows were open,” said Donnelly. “I said it’s going to be pretty hot today, do you think you want to turn on the air? And, she’s like, right after you leave I will put it on for awhile.”

Anita Castora is one of the site supervisors at a distribution point in Safety Harbor. She was training two new volunteers on Thursday morning.

“If you (feel like) they don’t feel good, or something is wrong, the first thing that we want you to do is ask them. You know, ‘Hi, how are you?'” Castora directed the new volunteers. “And, if they say there is something wrong we want you to call me and we call 911.”

In 2021, Neighborly volunteers and staff delivered 633,000 meals to seniors. The organization relys on about 800 volunteers to deliver meals on a regular basis. There are currently 700 seniors on a waiting list for meals and Neighborly needs 70 additional volunteers to meet that need.

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